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St. Hubert the Hunter

It’s fitting that the Episcopal church in Bondurant, crossroads of big game, is named after St. Hubert the Hunter, the patron saint of hunters.

Built in 1940 with volunteer labor, it remains a community center along with the associated log-cabin library next door. In 1937 a blizzard stranded Wyoming’s Episcopal Bishop Winfred H. Ziegler in the valley near the headwaters of the Hoback River and he never forgot the hospitality of residents there.

On a trip to the East Coast, Ziegler met Bishop Perry, head of the church in America, according to the church website.

Perry had received a diamond from a patron who asked him to use it to build a church. And so Ziegler returned to Wyoming $1,400 richer. Valley residents cut and hauled logs in 1939 and ’40. They held the first ceremony — a wedding — when the structure was half-built.

“When the Church was ‘three-logs-up’ there was a wedding ceremony,” Mildred S. Capron, Ziegler’s secretary, wrote in 1941. “The Bishop’s Portable Altar was set up: ‘Slim’ Stone and Lois Paris were married Sept. 5th.”

Residents, aided by the diamond’s proceeds, completed the church for its dedication on Aug. 3, 1941. “The altar window in the Church depicts the vision of St. Hubert,” a stag with a cross between its antlers, Eileen Fronk Dockham wrote. It was made by Miss Jessie Van Brunt of Brooklyn, who also provided the windows in the Church of the Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park. A barbecue was integral to the ceremony. The annual Bondurant Barbecue is still celebrated today.

The church won listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

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Historians debate the birthday of St. Hubert. He was an avid hunter who was pursuing a stag on Good Friday when the animal stopped and turned toward him. Hubert saw between its antlers the vision of a cross and “fell prostrate on the ground and asked, ‘Lord, what would you have me do?’” Hubert turned to the cloth and lived until May 30, 727 when he died at Tervueren, Belgium.

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Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at [email protected] or (307) 690-5586. Follow Angus on Twitter at @AngusThuermer

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2 Responses to St. Hubert the Hunter

  1. Keith Benefiel December 5, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    Old Hubert was a hell-raiser of the first water before his Animita Muscaria induced vision. It’s a great story.

    Wilson, Wyoming

  2. Ann K Fontaine December 1, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    Jessie Van Brunt also did the window over the altar at St Helen’s Crowheart and one for Oregon Trail Memorial in Eden/Farson.

    CANNON BEACH, Oregon

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