History of the Sanctuary Inn Philipsburg, Montana

The town of Philipsburg in Montana has gone through a period of regeneration recently, and it is now a sought after for a vacation location. The Sanctuary Inn was one of the most popular places to stay in town. The building has a fascinating history. The Sanctuary was more than a place to stay it was a historical icon. It has recently been closed, but is still a central feature of the town and it’s history.

The White Church

When mining first began in the 1890s in the Philipsburg area, the population of the town began to grow. Most people in the area were Presbyterian, and a church of this denomination opened in 1893. It was known as the White Church because of the color that it was painted. It is an imposing building, and the white walls contrast with the copper dome on top of the bell tower.


By 1990 many people had moved away from Philipsburg, and the church was hardly used. The decision was made to close the church, but no one knew how the building should be utilized in the future. People in the town knew that they did not want to knock the building down but because it did not have any other use it was just left empty.

The Sanctuary Inn

The design of the church and the unique features such as the hexagonal bell tower appealed to local businessman Dave Chappell, and he began to consider how the church could be re-utilized. He came up with the idea of turning it into a hotel, and this was around the same time that the rest of the town was being regenerated. He hired local artist Liz Silliman to help with the transformation of the inside of the church. She created hand-painted murals in every room which adds to the atmosphere of the Inn.

Here is a tv spot that aired in 2014:


The Sanctuary Inn is a small building, and there are only five rooms. However, despite being small, it has all of the amenities that you would expect from a modern hotel. Wifi is available throughout, and all the rooms have flat-screen TVs. These modern amenities are coupled with aspects of the hotel that are reminiscent of the past. Antique furniture is found in every room, and on the walls, you will find photographs of the history of Philipsburg.

The Town Of Philipsburg

Philipsburg is a small mining town in Montana. There did not seem to be much of a future for the town when the local mines began to close, leading many residents to have to move away to find work. Since the regeneration has taken place, the city has become a real tourist destination. There is plenty to do in the area, and it is an ideal location to stay for a couple of nights to get some rest if you are on a long road trip.

It will be interesting to see what the future has for the white church and the building that used to be the Sanctuary Inn.

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