Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Building Exteriors

Las Vegas 16th, 23rd and 26th Ward Exterior


Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on March 5, 1966, construction began on April 1, 1966, meetings were first held on September 24, 1967, and the building was dedicated on December 10, 1967 by Milton R. Hunter. It appears to be close in design to a Fairmont Standard Plan, but has quite a few unique features, including the glazing throughout and the steeple.

4201 E Stewart Ave
Las Vegas, NV
Built 1967
Map Location of Building


Huntington Park Ward Detail

6531 Middleton St
Huntington Park, CA
Built 1926
Architect: Lawrence Nowell
Map Location of Building


Huntington Park Ward Exterior


Groundbreaking was held on Sunday, June 13, 1926 and completed by December 12 of that same year when meetings were first held in the building. The main hall had a seating capacity of 600 with an amusement hall directly below. On Sunday, January 2, 1927 the building was dedicated by Pres. Heber J Grant. Later that year plans were made to greatly expand the building to form the Los Angeles Stake Tabernacle. Construction on this Stake Center began January 3, 1928 and was completed on May 22, 1928. A unique feature of the Tabernacle was a Lounge, the idea of Stake President Caldwell, that offered a luxurious parlor for socializing. The Stake Tabernacle was eventually dedicated on June 2, 1929. More recently the building housed a Spanish-speaking Stake, but now houses only a single Spanish-speaking ward.

6531 Middleton St
Huntington Park, CA
Built 1926
Architect: Lawrence Nowell
Map Location of Building


Wells Ward Exterior


The large beautiful window above the main entry into the chapel was originally visible internally at the back of the balcony.

1990 S 500 E
Salt Lake City, UT
Built 1920, Chapel built 1926
Map Location of Building


Hollywood Stake Tabernacle Exterior


Sunrise breaking through a foggy morning on one of the greatest buildings ever built by the LDS Church.

1209 S Manhattan Pl
Los Angeles, CA
Built 1928
Architect: Pope and Burton
Map Location of Building


Las Vegas 9th Ward Exterior

3400 W Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, NV
Built 1961
Architect: Harold W Burton
Map Location of Building


Milwaukee Branch Rendering


(Image from Deseret News 03 Sep 1932)

A commenter on this site clued me in to this gorgeous old English style chapel that was the first LDS-built meetinghouse in Milwaukee. The triangular-shaped property was purchased during the Great Depression at the convergence of West Roosevelt Drive, West Leon Terrace Drive and North 44th Street. The members raised $33,534.33 for their building that was budgeted to cost $50,000. Local Wisconsin Lannon stone was secured for the exterior instead of the red brick that was in the original design. Construction began Aug 8, 1932 and was dedicated by President Heber J Grant on June 13, 1933. Seating capacity of the chapel was 400, with a social hall, dining room, kitchen and ten classrooms.

After over 50 years of use and with few members left in the area, the building was sold in 1986, but then repurchased and bought back in 1997 when growth to the area returned. After purchasing the building it was noted that even the church name remained in tile work above the main door. If anyone has pictures or can obtain good pictures of the interior and exterior of this building, I would be very interested in speaking with you.

4422 W Leon Terrace
Milwaukee, WI
Built 1932-33; Sold 1986; Purchased 1997
Map Location of Building


Manila YSA Ward Exterior


This is definitely in my top five mid-century meetinghouses. The steeple is beautiful in its simplicity. And the repetition of structure and gabled windows is stunning. The chapel is directly across the street from a much newer meetinghouse and the American Fork Temple. I am unsure of the original name, date or architect, but hope to find out soon. If anyone has info, please share.

835 N 900 E
American Fork, UT
Map Location of Building


San Pedro Martir Ward Exterior


This meetinghouse was the first chapel built by the LDS Church in Mexico. Construction of the building took place in 1938 and was dedicated by Harold W. Pratt, who was President of the Mexican Mission, on May 22, 1938. The architectural style is Colonial Mexican. (Information and image graciously provided by Alfredo Villanueva)

Cinco de Mayo # 21
San Pedro Martir
Tlalpan, MEXICO
Built 1938
Map Location of Building


Wellsville Tabernacle Exterior


This Gothic Revival tabernacle was built on a raised sandstone foundation. All of the building materials, including the lumber, rock, lime and brick are local to the valley. The total cost of the building was $65,000. Dedication of the building took place on June 28, 1908 by Anthon H Lund of the First Presidency.

The original red brick was painted white in the 1950′s. After a fire in 1959, the tower was lowered and the central spire reduced in size. The building was listed on the National Register in 1979, the same year it was sold by the Church to the city of Wellsville. (At the lower right of the photo you can see part of the new meetinghouse that was built in the 1970′s to replace this building when it was sold. The two buildings share the same city block.) Unable to financially support the building, by 1994 the City turned it over to a private group of concerned citizens, now called the Wellsville Foundation. Under their ownership, the building has been used for weddings, theater productions, family reunions and lectures.

In 2010 the building was closed to the public because of structural signs of failure with the roof. The cost to repair the still-closed building is $150,000, which the Foundation has been seeking to raise since this past August. If the Foundation can raise the money, the building will again be opened to community and public use. For more information, here is an informative article on the fundraising effort.

75 S 100 E
Wellsville, UT
Built 1902-08
Architect: C.T. Barrett
Sold 1979 to city; now owned by Wellsville Foundation
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Utah State Meetinghouse Rendering


“Architectural drawing of the LDS stake building, known colloquially as the ‘Golden Toaster,’ built in 1962.” (Image courtesy Special Collections & Archives, Merrill Library, Utah State University) This rendering was featured as the cover of the dedicatory program.

This meetinghouse, designed by James H McCrea, was built as the U.S.U. Stake Center, containing two chapels to accommodate four University wards, the USU First, Fifth, Seventh and Eighth wards. Groundbreaking occurred on May 2, 1961 and was done by President David O Mckay. The event was shared with a groundbreaking for the Student Living Center on Campus, which would eventually be named in honor of President Mckay. All the speakers referred to how memorable and significant the occasion was. The building would eventually cost $700,000 to build. Dedication took place a year later, on Sunday June 3, 1962 with services under the direction of the Stake Presidency – Reed Bullen, Wendell O Rich, and Leonard J Arrington. Speaking at the event was University President Daryl Chase. President David O Mckay gave the final address and then offered the dedicatory prayer. At the end of the services a Hosannah anthem was sung followed by the singing of ‘The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning.’

This building is scheduled to be given to the University in exchange for another site, after which it will be demolished.

650 N 1200 E
Logan, UT
Built 1962
Architect: James H McCrea
Map Location of Building


Salt Lake Liberty Ward Exterior


Construction began April 6, 1908 and was completed six months later, with services first held on October 11, 1908. The plan is unusual for LDS chapels, being in the shape of a traditional Christian cruciform. Additionally, the stained glass windows contain crosses, beehives and the first vision. The grand exterior stair leading to the tower entry has been completely changed, as can be seen from the original image below. The building was remodeled in 1917 by architects Cannon and Fetzer. And an Amusement Hall was added in 1924.

Image from Deseret News dated 10 Oct 1908

445 E Harvard
Salt Lake City, UT
Built 1908
Amusement Hall added 1924
Map Location of Building


Ogden Lynne Ward Exterior


Located at the convergence of five roads that has been aptly named Five Points, this meetinghouse was built in 1914 and dedicated on September 5, 1915 by Apostle Reed Smoot. By 1931 the building was called the 15th Ward meetinghouse. Today it functions as a bank.

115 Washington Blvd
Ogden, UT
Built 1914
Address originally listed as 2 Harrisville Rd
Later called the Ogden 15th Ward
Sold and now Bank of Utah
Map Location of Building


Capitol Hill Ward Exterior

413 N W Capitol St
Salt Lake City, UT
Built 1928
Architect: Ashton and Evans
Map Location of Building


Fairview North Ward Exterior


The original building included a Relief Society Room, Kitchen, Boy Scout Room which opened up to a baptismal font, and many classrooms in the basement. On the main floor was the Amusement Hall (left side of photo), Chapel perpendicular to the hall (the main roof length in the photo) and a Reception Hall between the two, just off the main entry which is obscured by the tree. The Reception Hall contained a fireplace and opened up on both sides to connect both large assembly spaces. The only other room on the main floor was a Bishop’s Room which can be seen as the gabled bump-out on the right side of the photo with the chimney coming out of it. This Bishop’s room not only had a fireplace, but also a small toilet room. The only access to the office was directly from the Rostrum at the front of the Chapel. Below this office was the font.

A 1973 remodel changed the Bishop’s restroom into a small Clerk’s office and the Organ chamber behind the rostrum into a classroom. Finally, in 1986 a nicely-built wing was added perpendicular to the back side of the Chapel containing two Bishop’s offices, Clerk, main level restrooms and classrooms. Today the exterior remains largely unchanged, except for the addition of a steeple to the building.

131 E 100 N
Fairview, Utah
Built 1936
Architect: Anderson and Young
Map Location of Building


Heber 2nd Ward Exterior


Apparently, the beautiful design and detailing of this English Gothic Parish church caused hard feelings for the other two wards in Heber that built meetinghouses at the same time. The site was purchased in 1913 and housed a Methodist church which was moved and used by the Center Creek ward. Construction began in 1914 and was mostly done by ward members. By 1915 the building was completed, paid off, and dedicated by Apostle Francis Lyman on Dec 26, 1915. Classrooms for Sunday School were located beneath the capacity 400-seat chapel. In 1954, the newly created 5th Ward also began to use the building which led to a new and much larger stake center to be built several blocks away during the 1960′s. Eventually the building was sold to the Catholic Church which still holds services to this day.

5 S 100 W
Heber, UT
Built 1915
Architect: Joseph Nelson
Sold 1960′s; Now St Lawrence Catholic Church
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Ogden Tabernacle Exterior

This building is currently under renovation along with the adjacent Ogden Temple. I am unsure as to what changes will be made to the building other than the removal of the steeple. It is unfortunate that such a great steeple will be gone.

2145 Washington Blvd
Ogden, UT
Built 1952
Architect: Fred L Markham
Click for Map Location of Building


Salt Lake 13th Ward Exterior Entry

100 S 400 E
Salt Lake City, UT
Built 1951
Architect: Clifford Evans
Vacant ~2008 to 2011
Land donated to Hope Lodge in 2011
Click for Map Location of Building


Salt Lake 13th Ward Exterior

The urban flight by LDS members out of Salt Lake City continues with the generous donation of this building and land to a local charity yesterday. The building has been vacant the last four years and will be demolished to make way for the Hope Lodge, a housing facility for cancer patients. Built in 1951, largely by the ward members, the building was one of three remaining meetinghouses in the downtown area of Salt Lake City, the others being the 17th Ward located behind the Conference Center and the 8th Ward located behind the Library. This Colonial Revival building was uniquely placed on the site at a 45 degree angle to the corner that it sits on.

100 S 400 E
Salt Lake City, UT
Built 1951
Architect: Clifford Evans
Vacant ~2008 to 2011
Land donated to Hope Lodge in 2011
Click for Map Location of Building


Provo 3rd Ward Exterior


One of my favorite LDS architects, Richard Watkins, was the designer of this building. He also did the fabulous Spring City chapel.

105 N 500 W
Provo, UT
Built 1901
Architect: Richard Watkins
Amusement hall added 1913; Interior remodel 1935-40; Sold 1979
Now Discovery Academy private school
Listed on National Register of Historic Places
Click for Map Location of Building


Smithfield Tabernacle Exterior


A one-story addition was attached to the rear of this building at some point. All of the gothic-style windows in the chapel were removed and bricked in – I’m assuming this was done after the building was sold. Also, the steeple has been removed. Much of the brick detailing is still intact and is quite nice. If anyone has access to pictures of this building when it functioned as a church, I would be very interested to see them.

Center St and Main St
Smithfield, UT
Built 1883-1902
Click for Map Location of Building


Forest Dale Ward Exterior


A competition was held to select an architect for this meetinghouse, and the person selected was ward member Peter Mortensen. His 1901 design for the building was a three-spired classical building. Foundation work began that year on the building. By December, Mortensen had an accumulated debt of $3800 for lumber materials on other projects. The treasurer for the lumber company was James Hay. Mortensen invited Hay to his home on the evening of December 16th to pay the debt. Hay went to Mortensen’s home but was never seen alive again. His body was discovered the next morning buried in a fresh mound of dirt in a close-by field.

Of course the incident brought construction of the meetinghouse to a halt and brought a division in the ward. Mortensen neither admitted nor denied that he was guilty of the crime, but was tried in court for the murder. Half of the members of the ward “knew” he was not guilty and the other half “knew” he was. Those for Mortensen wanted the building to go ahead as he had planned. Those against would not contribute another penny toward its erection using his design. The impasse was cleared up by holding another competition to provide a new meetinghouse design to be used on the existing foundation. A design submitted by architect Samuel Whitaker was accepted in April 1902. After the new design was developed, construction on the meetinghouse resumed. Paralleling the ongoing construction was the trial, which continued with great drama described by the Salt Lake Tribune as “the most celebrated murder trial since the days of John D. Lee and the Mountain Meadow massacre.” Mortensen’s attorneys received a death threat in July 1902 if they continued to defend him. “Your house and home will be blown to atoms in case you make a motion for a new trial.” The case continued without incident and Mortensen was tried, convicted and executed in November 1903, receiving coverage as far as the New York Times. He was the ninth person to be executed by the state. The following month, the meetinghouse was completed and began to be used for services. Dedication services took place in 1905 by Church President Joseph F Smith.

The design of the new meetinghouse by Samuel Whitaker was quite different in appearance than Mortensen’s design, having a circular dome feature in the center of the chapel, rather than the three spires at the front of the building. Unique to LDS meetinghouses, the dome opened to the chapel space providing beautiful natural light through clerestory windows. The original rostrum had classical columns on each side of the chapel. These were removed in 1929 by Cannon and Fetzer who also added classrooms and hallways to connect to the cultural hall built at the rear of the building in 1913. During the 1970′s the interior of the dome was covered over with a ceiling, but was opened again during a remodel in 1986.

739 E Ashton Avenue
Salt Lake City, UT
Foundation built 1902; Completed 1903; Dedicated 1905
Architect: Samuel T Whitaker (original architect Peter Mortensen)
Part of Forest Dale Historic District on National Register
Click for Map Location of Building


Logan 6th Ward Exterior


This Gothic style church is in a prominent location of Logan. The cornerstone was laid in 1908, the first meeting held in 1909, and the building completed in 1910. The Dedication was performed by James E Talmage once the building was completely paid off in 1917. A Cultural hall was added to the west of the building in 1927 and dedicated in 1930. The building was sold between 1972 and 1979. By 1979 the building was a printing shop called Deseret Towers in which no major modifications were made to the building. Recently the building has served as the Maranatha Baptist Church and is currently called the Alpine Church. The steeple has been significantly modified as has the interior chapel space.

395 S Main Street
Logan, UT
Built 1910
Architect: K. C. Schaub and Joe Monsen
Sold between 1972 and 1979, now called the Alpine Church
Listed on National Register of Historic Places
Click for Map Location of Building


Smithfield Tabernacle Detail


Construction began in April of 1883 and was completed in December of 1902. Unique to this building is the phrase “Holiness to the Lord” placed over the entry which is typically reserved for Temples. The 6.1 magnitude earthquake to hit the Logan area in 1962 was reported to have badly damaged the building stating that it “probably should be condemned.” (30 Aug 1962 Herald Journal) Today the building appears to be owned by the city as some type of recreation hall. I am unsure of the date the building was sold.

Center St and Main St
Smithfield, UT
Built 1883-1902
Click for Map Location of Building


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