The Amazing Ursuline Centre

The other day I visited the Ursuline Centre located at 2300 Central Avenue in Great Falls. The area is primarily residential with a school on the other end of the block.

It was a cold December day so I didn’t shoot any outside photos (maybe next summer!). The outside of the building is very impressive though. Gargoyles peer down from near the top of the building, a point frequently missed by many.

Our tour started on the second floor. Harry Tholen manages the centre and has quite a history there. He attended school at the Ursuline and has worked as the manager for many years.

The building is massive with several entrances. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1991. The Ursuline Centre was formerly an academy boarding school run by the Ursuline Sisters. Today you’ll find a kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, nursery and day care program.

Our tour guide told us the chapel has been a focal point of the third floor since 1912. I stood in awe at the paintings on plaster. Deep rich colors and intricate detail covered three arches behind the altar. Stained glass windows in rich gold colors line the sides of the chapel. What a jewel.

Furnishings in the many, many rooms at the Ursuline are a variety of antiques. Books dating back to the 1800s, intricately carved wooden bookcases, a table and chairs that I can’t even figure out what they would be used for, all combine for a very educational tour.

There are 10 meeting rooms at the Ursuline Centre that can accommodate anywhere from 5 to 250 people. The building’s use continues to evolve and now it is mostly used as a meeting and conference center. There are also private, semi private and dorm-style sleeping rooms with capacity of 100 people. Food service is available too.

I took so many photos at the Ursuline Centre and I’d like to share a few more. This handmade round table was so intriguing. The chair in front of it would have been used when a lady wore a dress with a huge bustle. Since the chair didn’t have a back, the bustle could drape over the chair. As usual, the stories are as interesting as what you see!

I’ll share more photos in the next blog update.

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