Before Idaho was even a state, the congregation of the First Methodist Church was beginning to form. The first site of their church was at 8th and Bannock, but then in 1902 the congregation relocated to 10th and State due to the high attendance rate. However, their new building was still not large enough and therefore a bigger facility was needed. In 1960 the doors of the present cathedral were opened to the public. After each move, they had to rebuild their house of worship. The architects of the cathedral were Harold E. Wagoner and Jedd Jones. They created the Cathedral of the Rockies in a cruciform to mirror the cross, and brought elements of traditional Gothic churches into the modern cathedral.
The architecture of the traditional chapel is very intriguing. The windows of the room are numerous and high. They allow light to come in and highlight the pictures on the stain glass. The pictures portray different Bible stories and are most beautiful during the sunset when the golds and reds sparkle. High over the pews, the roof of the chapel was built to complement the choir. Boxes are formed into the ceiling to send the sound waves down to the mass below. The choir sits above the congregation and just below the Rose Window. This window is the most beloved of all the stained glass. It is a tribute to the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. An even bigger window stands behind the altar and reflects the First Methodist Church’s faith.
The portraits made by the stained glass tell Bible stories of all sorts and also contains icons of American history including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee! Update, as of May, 2020, following the George Floyd protests, the church has decided to rethink their inclusion of Lee in the stained glass window panel. See https://www.umnews.org/en/news/robert-e-lee-image-out-at-boise-church for more information.
In 2002, an addition was built to accommodate the need for more music rooms, offices and a contemporary chapel. Taking the place of the covered walkway, the lobby now joins the Cana Chapel, a chapel previously on its own plot, with the main church. This remodel is more modern on the inside but the exterior blends well with the original structure. The addition has made it more aesthetically pleasing. Each of the three chapels is designed to accommodate its specific users. The smallest chapel, the Cana Chapel, sits only 75 people and is now used only for small weddings and funerals. It is always open for meditation. The sanctuary is more traditional and sits about 1,000 people. It is used for Sunday services and larger weddings .In this chapel; the stained glass windows portray different Bible stories as well as famous people in American history. The last and largest chapel is used for a “blue jeans” service, or a more casual mass. People can bring their younger children without the embarrassment of the rowdiness, and they stray away from traditional hymns.