Soldiers Chapel and the mountainNestled amidst the breathtaking scenery of Big Sky, Montana, just off of highway 191,  stands a place of solace and remembrance: The Soldiers Chapel. More than just a beautiful structure, the chapel holds a deep personal story of sacrifice and devotion.


Designed by Nelson Story III, a veteran of World War II himself, the Soldiers Chapel serves as a lasting tribute to a fallen soldier and a storied infantry regiment. Story III wasn't alone in this endeavor; he collaborated with his son, Nelson Story IV. Sadly, the younger Story never saw the chapel's completion – he died in combat at the young age of 22.



Their story is intricately linked to the 163rd Infantry Regiment of which Nelson Story III was a member. This regiment played a crucial role in the Pacific Theater during World War II, specifically deployed to defend New Guinea from Japanese invasion. The Battle of Buna Gona stands as a testament to their courage, but the unforgiving jungles presented another formidable challenge – disease. Malaria, dengue fever, and other illnesses ravaged the ranks alongside enemy fire. In fact, nearly every member of the regiment suffered from illness, wounds, or death.


Soldiers ChapelDriven by the loss of his son and the immense sacrifices of the 163rd Infantry, Nelson Story III dedicated himself to honoring their memory. He donated the land, drafted the design, wrote the chapel's charter, and even contributed most of the funding for its construction. Construction of the Soldiers Chapel began in 1955 and was completed later that same year. The finished structure stood as a permanent tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the 163rd Infantry Regiment and a personal memorial to Nelson Story IV.


Today, Soldiers Chapel continues to serve the community as a welcoming and inclusive space. Functioning as a non-denominational Christian memorial chapel, it offers a place for spiritual reflection for visitors of all faiths. Pastors from various denominations hold different services throughout the year including weddings.