Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Ogden Deaf Branch Exterior

740 21st St
Ogden, UT
Built 1916
Click for Map Location of Building


8 responses

  1. seshat

    I know this was built specifically as Ogden’s deaf branch, but does Ogden still have a large enough population of deaf Latter-day Saints to continue using it for that purpose? If not, what does it function as now?

    April 5, 2011 at 9:44 am

    • I don’t believe so. The only info I currently have on the use of the building is that it is listed as the Water Tower Branch for a correctional facility.

      April 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm

  2. seshat

    What does “Water Tower Branch for a correctional facility” mean?

    I mean, I know what a correctional facility is–I had a friend whose dad taught seminary and institute in correctional facilities up in Logan–but I also know what a water tower is, and I can’t imagine they really keep water in that building.

    April 6, 2011 at 7:09 am

    • I think that is simply the name of the branch, rather than a reference to the building or its use.

      April 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      • steven fortenberry

        It is used as a meetinghouse for a ward attended by the halfway house located in ogden.

        June 8, 2022 at 12:41 pm

  3. Thank you for including this building; it is truly unique in Church history. For the past several years, I have been doing extensive research on this building and the congregations that met here. (I have copies of the original blueprints from the Special Collections Library at Weber State University in Ogden.)

    The Ogden Deaf Branch (formerly the “L.D.S. Branch for the Deaf,” which it was called until the 1940s and is still on the identification plaque on the front wall of the building, lower left) met in this building until January 1999. Petition was made to the First Presidency in 1911/1912 to construct the building at a cost of $15,000; well-known Prairie School architect Leslie Hodgson ( was contracted to design the building. Construction on the building began in 1915 following the FP’s approval in January and was completed in December 1916/January 1917. The building was dedicated 14 January 1917 by President Joseph F. Smith and attended by Anthon H. Lund and several Church apostles; on 4 February 1917, the L.D.S. Branch for the Deaf was organized under the direction of President Thomas B. Evans of the Ogden Stake with Max W. Woodbury, a teacher at the Utah School for the Deaf and the superintended of the Deaf Sunday School, as its first branch president. President Woodbury served for fifty-one years, the longest serving branch president in the history of the Church.

    The rostrum and elevation of the chapel are uniquely designed to leverage the visual needs of Deaf congregants. The floor is sloped to allow successive rows to see the speaker and the pulpit is situated in the middle of the rostrum with seating to the sides (but not behind) of the pulpit to enable leaders to view the signing of speakers. The basement classrooms were all designed to have light switches both inside (to control interior lighting) and outside (to signal students) of the rooms.

    The building is located a block and half southwest of the (old) campus of the Utah School for the Deaf. When the School relocated to Ogden in 1896, Deaf students and local Deaf parishioners attended Sunday School services in the Ogden Fourth Ward gymnasium—rain, shine, and cold—until 1917. Plans for an addition to extend the Deaf Branch building to the north were accepted in February 1948 at a cost of $26,500, ground broken in October 1949, completed sometime in Autumn 1950, and dedicated by Presiding Bishop LeGrand Richards on 9 Dec 1951.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    • The building is indeed a unique and beautiful one. Thank you for sharing your research here. I greatly appreciate your taking the time to fill us in on some of the back story of this building.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm

  4. The branch does serve members of the Church from a local halfway house/correctional facility for roughly two hours of services every Sunday morning. Other than that, the building lies empty. We are fortunate that the Presiding Bishopric has never let the property go!

    June 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm

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