Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

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Clearfield Ward Exterior


I don’t have much info on this building yet, but will be researching some of its history in the next week. My guess is it was built in the early 1900′s. It has probably been vacant and in disrepair for many years, especially as the homes and town moved away from Main street. I am surpised it is still standing at all, considering the industrialized neighborhood. A wonderful building, though.

Here is a 1935 painting of the building by LeConte Stewart
Utah State Historical Society photo of building

380 S Main St
Clearfield, UT
Built ??
Now vacant and in great disrepair, used for storage
Map Location of Building


Porterville Ward Detail

Built 1898
Sold 1942 and remodeled into a private residence
Destroyed by fire in 2000
Map Location of Building


Porterville Ward Exterior


Built 1898
Sold 1942 and remodeled into a private residence
Destroyed by fire in 2000

This meetinghouse is located on a beautiful site, elevated above the town and the river running adjacent. Built of a stone base and brick structure in 1898, the building cost around $5000 to construct. Containing a single large chapel space on the main floor, the room was able to be subdivided by curtains for Sunday School classes. The basement was an open hall for activities and dances. The original design contained a weather vane and a bell tower above the entry door on the west side.

The building is currently for sale.

1920 photo showing the main entry with original tower.
Here is an image of the building as a private residence prior to the fire.

Additional information:
The Old Porterville Ward
Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning by C. Mark Hamilton, pg 88-89.
Wikipedia entry on Porterville, Utah


Cedar City 1st Ward Rededication

(Photo from Cedar City Pictures Website)

I was excited to find out today that the Cedar City 1st Ward building, or historic Rock Church, will be Rededicated this Sunday after closing last year for renovations. The dedication will be at 6pm and the building will be open for tours both before and after from 5pm-8pm. I have not been to visit the building yet, but from what I understand, the Cultural Hall has been restored to its original design, including removal of carpet for the original hardwood floors and removal of the wall panels that covered the windows. The radiators were left for historical reasons, even though the building now has central heating and cooling. The original pews have been restored and the font and mural still remain even though it is no longer functional. This building was built when the original Tabernacle on Center and Main was sold to the Government to be demolished for a new Post Office, but the still-working clock from the Tabernacle can be seen in the steeple.

75 E Center
Cedar City, UT
Built 1931
Architect: Anderson and Young
Map Location of Building


Paradise Ward in the news

The local Utah media is finally reporting on this building. Several of my photos from this site were on a KUTV News story covering the building this evening.

Here is the short news clip.

And here are some other news stories that were posted today as well:
HJ News – Once upon a chapel: 133-year-old LDS church in Paradise to be razed
Deseret News – One of Utah’s oldest Mormon chapels to be demolished
Salt Lake Tribune – One of Utah’s oldest Mormon chapels to be razed

9060 S 200 W
Paradise, UT
Original Chapel built 1877
Classrooms added 1902
New chapel addition 1952 by architect Lawrence D Olpin
Cultural Hall addition 1979
Scheduled to be torn down April 2012
Map Location of Building


Paradise Ward Farewell

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Yesterday I was fortunate to visit this building for the first time. It also happened to be the last day that worship services would be held. Even though it was Easter Sunday, members of the ward lingered long after services to reminisce, take pictures and just to sit and enjoy the Chapel for the last time while the bell in the tower rang outside for the small community of Paradise to hear.

As you can see, part of the building has already been removed exposing the original stone of the 1877 chapel. There was a nice display in the lobby with old photos of the chapel, some of the original stone as well as drawings of the new building to replace this one. Apparently they will save the bell to put into the new steeple. This bell was part of the original 1877 chapel. Also, some of the original stone will be used on the front elevation as a decorative feature.

Some of my favorite features of the building were the exposed stone, the railing in the lobby, the cry room in the balcony behind glass, the pulpit, the hand-painted flowers throughout the chapel, the abundance of natural light in the chapel, and the pews up in the cry room. I may be completely wrong, but if I were to guess, I would say those pews in the balcony are from the original building. The pews down in the chapel appeared to be from the 1952 addition. Rumor has it that some of the interior painting in the chapel was done by the same artist who painted scenes in the Salt Lake Temple Celestial room.

There was an attempt to save the building and have it be used as a community center that made it all the way to the First Presidency, but that request was denied. As a result the building that has stood here as a centerpiece for the town since 1877 will very soon be demolished.

9060 S 200 W
Paradise, UT
Original Chapel built 1877
Classrooms added 1902
New chapel addition 1952 by architect Lawrence D Olpin
Cultural Hall addition 1979
Scheduled to be torn down April 2012
Map Location of Building


Paradise Ward Demolition

Sadly, I just found out that the historic Paradise Ward meetinghouse in southern Cache County will be torn down in the next several weeks. The Chapel is right in the center of town and I don’t yet know why it will be torn down or what the plans are for the site. I haven’t done a lot of research on this building yet, but I believe the original chapel was built in either 1882 or 1886. In 1952, the original chapel was divided internally into classrooms and the steeple was removed when a larger chapel and steeple was built as an expansion to the original building. Finally in 1979 a large Cultural hall addition in the back was added. According to my source, the last Sunday of services will be Easter Sunday. If anyone has additional information on this building or its demolition, I would be interested to hear about it.

9060 S 200 W
Paradise, UT
Original Chapel built 1886?
New chapel addition 1952
Cultural Hall addition 1979
Scheduled to be torn down April 2012
Map Location of Building


Heber 2nd Ward Chapel Interior

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


Randolph Ward Gable

15 S. Main
Randolph, UT
Built 1898-1914
Architect: John C. Gray
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Randolph Ward Exterior

15 S. Main
Randolph, UT
Built 1898-1914
Architect: John C. Gray
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Randolph Ward Chapel Interior

Even though many people classify this building as a Tabernacle, I have not, because from what I have read, it has always only been a meetinghouse for the local ward. The interior of this building features one of my favorite set of pipes for an organ that I have seen. Very minimal and unusual in that they point downwards.

Built between 1898 and 1914, the first meeting was held in the main Chapel in November 1904 when the building was not finished, but usable. Another ten years would pass before the building was completed. Apostle George A. Smith stopped the work until all debts were paid which greatly slowed down the work. Smith would later dedicate the building on July 26, 1914.

The plaque on the building says it was remodeled in 1938. At this time an amusement hall was added behind the building while a baptismal font and furnace were installed in the basement of the original building. Total time for this remodel spanned from 1936-38. The amusement hall was demolished in a 1984-85 remodel and a large rear addition was built with a new cultural hall, classrooms and offices. The addition attached to the original Chapel at the rear and on one side providing a new entrance lobby and hallway to access the entry to the Chapel. The Chapel was also refurbished at this time.

15 S. Main
Randolph, UT
Built 1898-1914
Architect: John C. Gray
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Centerville 1st Ward Chapel Interior

160 S 300 E
Centerville, UT
Built 1879
Map Location of Building


Centerville 1st Ward Exterior

160 S 300 E
Centerville, UT
Built 1879
Side wings added 1927
Front portico and steps added 1934
Cultural Hall and Steeple added 1951
Map Location of Building


Centerville 1st Ward Cultural Hall


The exposed structural framework here is quite striking. Built in 1951 and dedicated by Assistant to the Twelve, Alma Sonne, on March 1, 1953.

160 S 300 E
Centerville, UT
Cultural Hall built 1951
Architect: George Cannon Young
Map Location of Building


Washakie Ward Chapel Interior


Although the building was locked, one of the exterior windows was broken which provided a view to the interior. Obviously it is in rough shape, but I was quite surprised to see that the pews still remain in the Chapel.

Box Elder County
Washakie, UT
Architect: Edward O Anderson (probable)
Built 1937-39; Sold 1966; Currently vacant
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Washakie Ward Exterior

Repeated conflicts between the Native Shoshoni Indians settled near the Bear River and the local militia led to a treaty in 1863 that forever changed the lifestyle of the Shoshoni. As a result, the LDS Church decided to set up a community named Washakie near the Utah/Idaho border in 1880 in order to teach “white” farming techniques and to help integrate the Shoshoni into both American and Mormon society. Using missionaries to direct this effort, by 1886, 250 inhabitants lived here year-round, owning their property in common and maintaining their farms and homesteads.

Construction on the small Washakie Ward Chapel began in 1937 and sits in the middle of a large fenced lot. Dedicated on January 22, 1939, the building served this local Shoshoni farming settlement that consisted of about 125 LDS members by this time. Upon completion of the building, the first all-Native American Indian bishopric in the Church was installed to lead the ward with Moroni Timbimboo as Bishop. Out-migration from the community began with WWII and continued until 1960 when the Ward was downgraded to a Branch. In 1966 the congregation was completely discontinued and the building and property were sold. Not just the LDS chapel, but the entire community project was abandoned at this time, with all the remaining families evicted and all 184 acres of property either returned to the tribe or sold. The small brick chapel is the most significant of only a few remaining structures from this community that remains. In 1998 the building, still vacant and in disrepair, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

*Source of information obtained from National Register Nomination Form

Box Elder County
Washakie, UT
Architect: Edward O Anderson (probable)
Built 1937-39; Sold 1966; Currently vacant
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Parowan 3rd Ward Exterior

90 S Main
Parowan, UT
Architect: Miles Miller
Built 1914
Map Location of Building


Parowan 3rd Ward Windows

90 S Main
Parowan, UT
Architect: Miles Miller
Built 1914
Map Location of Building


Parowan 3rd Ward Chapel Interior

90 S Main
Parowan, UT
Architect: Miles Miller
Built 1914
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


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


Utah State Meetinghouse Detail

650 N 1200 E
Logan, UT
Click for Map Location of Building


Utah State Meetinghouse Chapel Detail

I learned today from several comments on a previous post that this building, the ‘Golden Toaster,’ is going to be demolished. This will occur through a land swap with Utah State University in order to build a newer meetinghouse in another part of the campus. I agree with the article that the site is a fabulous location and will be great for the University to have. But I am profoundly disappointed that this building will be gone. It is by far one of my favorite mid-century buildings and is wonderfully designed and detailed. Losing this building is going to hurt. Here are all the pictures I have posted on this meetinghouse.

650 N 1200 E
Logan, UT
Click for Map Location of Building


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