Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Places of Worship: 150 Years of Latter-day Saint Architecture

Richard Woolley Jackson compiled a great deal of research on LDS Architecture and published the book ‘Places of Worship: 150 Years of Latter-day Saint Architecture’ in 2003. In the book, Jackson states that it is the first extensive history of Church architecture.

Little exists in print on general Church architecture, with the exception of a few books on temples and various papers on specific architectural topics related to styles or periods. Ward, stake, community, and family historians in search of information about buildings have no readily available sources and no way of appraising what information they find (local newspapers, diaries, personal memories) in the context of the broader pattern of Church construction. I have written this book in nontechnical language for the lay person, but it has been my goal that it be based on sound architectural information and solid historical research.

This book appears to be available for purchase here and online in pdf format here. I find that he is correct regarding the lack of research on Meetinghouse design in particular, which is why this blog will build on what Mr. Jackson has accomplished by focusing on LDS Architecture in general and Meetinghouses in particular.  See the About page for more information.

3 responses

  1. charlene

    These are beautiful photos! They make me yearn for the Ogden 14th Ward meetinghouse I attended until I was married there in 1972. The chapel had gorgeous stained glass windows and a foyer at the back. The picture over the pulpit of Jesus on the Mount of Olives will always be my favorite. I remember the huge gym with a gleaming polished floor and stage, and the many twisty back stairwells that lent the perfect air to Halloween spook alleys.

    The heartbreak for me is that this building was torn down and replaced in 1972-73. The “reason” then was that it was too difficult for all of the older members to climb all those stairs. Can you tell me how these other old buildings have managed to solve the stair problem and remain in use?

    Thank you for sharing these treasures!

    April 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    • Thanks, Charlene. Your building sounds wonderful – it is unfortunate that it’s gone. My guess is there were also other reasons in addition to the stairs. But that’s just a guess. I’m sure there would have been other options to retrofit the building rather than tear it down. Did they build another building on the same site afterward? I have been in several buildings recently with steep stairs leading to balconies in the chapel and I had the thought that older people probably just sit on the main floor. And I was also in a building recently that had a spiral staircase leading to the Young Women’s rooms on the top level. I was surprised to see it there, but loved it.

      April 27, 2011 at 6:23 am

      • charlene

        They did replace the building with the non-descript layout that was in use that year. It was a time when preserving and retrofitting was not in fashion. Just entering the building at any point required many stairs. It probably would have been more expensive also, and this is not an affluent area of town. There was always some embarrassment as a teen that we had such an old building when others in the stake were slick and new. I’m glad I appreciated it before it was gone, and have my wedding photos to remember it.

        May 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

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