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St. Mary’s Catholic Church

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1884, Peter Book, builder; 1941 renovation. 305 4th St.
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

Medora von Hoffman, the Marquise de Morès, wife of the marquis, funded this Catholic church for the town that was named for her. Local brickyard owner Peter Book constructed the one-story church of yellow brick. An open wooden belfry with corner posts at the gabled end supports a pyramidal roof, surmounted by a cross. To the right of the doorway, a cornerstone inscribed “Athenais” commemorates the name of the marquise’s daughter. The interior was originally one room, but an extensive renovation in 1941 created a small sacristy, confessional, and an entrance vestibule to the sanctuary. St. Mary’s is the oldest Catholic church still in use in the state. Although the permanent congregation of the chapel remains small, hundreds of visitors are served each week during the summer tourist season.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "St. Mary’s Catholic Church", [Medora, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 175-175.

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