St. Helen Catholic Mission
Roman Catholic Church
Fort Bridger, WY
St. Helen of the Cross
History of St. Helen~Fort Bridger
By 1928, there were 16 families in the Fort Bridger vicinity and Mass was celebrated twice a month in the Legion Hall, whenever roads were passable. Eleven children made their First Holy Communion on September 1, 1928, the first regular class in the history of the town. The first Masses in the Bridger Valley were held on the Eardley ranch in Fort Bridger in the early 1900's to about 1916. Later, Masses were held at the Mary Sheehan Watson ranch in the Miburne area. Fr. O'Connor is fondly remembered by longtime parishioners, Dorothy O'Connor and Eleanor Stan forth. He performed the wedding of both Dorothy and her husband Hary, and Eleanor and her husband Thomas. Fr. O'Connor was well liked in the community. He was transferred to Torrington in January 1932.
The next resident pastor, Rev. Edward Cassidy, was to serve St. Helen's Mission for 19 years.
In 1934 plans were made to build a church at Fort Bridger. There were now 20 families and the hall they had been using was no longer suitable. A gift of $3,000 was received from the Catholic Extension Society and the church was dedicated November 11, 1935, free from debt on land donated by Algino Fillin, the local blacksmith and craftsman.
The Catholic population in the Bridger Valley continued to grow and on June 24, 1970, groundbreaking was held for a Church Center. The dedication of the new facility was on December 3, 1970.