Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Phoenix 2nd Ward Exterior

302 West Latham Street
Phoenix, AZ
Built 1932
Now Great Arizona Puppet Theater
Map Location of Building

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4 responses

  1. seshat

    Now Great Arizona Puppet Theater

    Seriously? We had a building that beautiful and we sold it so it could be a puppet theater?

    Well, I guess it sorta makes sense, since all LDS chapels are, in fact, puppet theaters to begin with.

    March 23, 2011 at 7:37 am

    • It is definitely sad that the building was sold, but nice to see the building currently used and still standing. According to this site, the building was actually sold to the Arizona Dept of Transportation as part of the right-of-way when I-10 was being built. So it’s possible it was a forced land grab. Also according to the page, the freeway was redirected to save the building from being demolished. Not sure how true that is, but the north side of the building is directly adjacent to I-10.

      March 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      • seshat

        It is definitely sad that the building was sold, but nice to see the building currently used and still standing.

        Absolutely. Setting aside the snarkiness of my first comment, it’s always wonderful when a beautiful LDS building escapes the heartbreaking fate of the Coalville Tabernacle. And I am very glad that the current owners value and are preserving the building’s beauty and character.

        March 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

  2. Yes, (puppet theater here) – the building was sold to be demolished but the community rallied to have it named to the National Register of Historic Places so the highway department couldn’t tear it down, as they were using federal money to complete I-10 through Phoenix. When we bought it in 1996 it was very much a wreck, with a seriously leaky roof, no electricity, no hook-up to city sewer, etc etc. 3 years of renovation led to opening part of the building in 1999, and the rest 3 years later. Our historic architect brought in John Driggs, grandson of one of the founders, Golden Driggs, to take a look. He told us that there had been decorative painting in the chapel area. We uncovered that and had it replicated, as well as the decorative ceiling in the social hall. It serves the community well, with children’s shows by professional puppeteers 5 days a week year-round, and adult shows about 20 times a year. We DO value it and can’t believe it was ever slated for demolition.

    June 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

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