A Look Back: St. Christopher’s Episcopal mission on Navajo land in Bluff, Utah, in 1950
Published: August 11, 2013 08:42AM
Updated: August 30, 2013 07:21AM
Salt Lake Tribune archive St. Christopher's Mission in Bluff, Utah, 1950. St. Christopher’s Episcopal Mission was established in 1943 when H. Baxter Liebler, an Episcopal priest from Old Greenwich, Conn., came to Bluff to establish a mission among the Navajo people. St. Christopher’s is named after the patron saint of travelers. When Father Liebler arrived in Bluff, there were no missions, schools, or medical/hospital facilities for the Navajo living in this remote Utah section of the reservation. Before arriving in southeast Utah, Father Liebler studied the Navajo language to make his message comprehensible to the Dineh and compatible with their understanding of harmony. He participated in Navajo ceremonies and wore his hair in the traditional Navajo style - long, pulled back and wrapped. A year after the mission was established, a school was started which became the only school for the 1,500 Navajo living in the central part of the Utah strip of the Navajo Reservation. A hospital/clinic building was completed in 1956. An estimated 500 babies were born in the clinic during the years it was in operation.

Each Friday, The Salt Lake Tribune presents images from its archives in a special series called A Look Back. This week’s gallery features photos from 1950 of St. Christopher’s Episcopal mission extablished among the Navajo people in Bluff, Utah in 1943.

Every gallery of the series is available at www.sltrib.com/topics/lookback.

Here are some of the previous installments:

Hotels and boarding houses in the late 1800s

Pony Express, postal service and telegraph in Utah

Early churches in Utah and Wyoming

The mining ghost town of Mercur

Construction of the Salt Lake Tabernacle

Historic buildings in Utah

30 years of iconic rock and roll in Utah

Life on the Ute Reservation in early the 1900s

Women’s fashion in the 1960s

Dogs in Utah around 1900

Utah’s early cultural diversity

Utah artists from the late 1800s to the early 1900s

Presidential visits to Utah from the 1860s

Hunting and fishing in the early 1900s

BYU, Utah football programs

Saloons, brewing companies in Utah around 1900

The centennial Days of ‘47 parade in downtown Salt Lake City from July 1947

Women’s fashion from 1949-50

Construction of the Salt Lake Temple and SLC in the 1800s

Utah college life from the 1930s to 1960s

Old newspaper advertisements

People and events in Salt Lake City from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s

Historical images of Sugar House

Aerial images of Salt Lake City in the 1960s

Historic photos of Temple Square

Historic scenes from Salt Lake City


The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks

Salt Lake City in the 1900s

Key moments in Utah Jazz history

Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park from 1935 to 1951

Kennecott Utah Copper Mine in the 1930s and 1940s

Salt Lake City and other Utah cities in the 1800s

Geneva Steel