Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Wells Ward Chapel Interior


Unfortunately I couldn’t find an artist name for the beautiful artwork that serves as the focal point for the chapel. I would not be surprised if the piece were specifically commissioned for the building since it is so well integrated into the overall design. While visiting with ward members I learned that the rostrum almost met the fate of being remodeled into classrooms, just as the balcony was. Thankfully it was saved. One story stated that the Bishop put his foot down and would not allow this to happen. Another story stated that this was the ward Sis. Hinckley grew up in and she exerted her influence to ultimately save the chapel.

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

6 responses

  1. Alan LeBaron

    This same artwork is in the temple in Cardston Alberta and I am quite sure it was used in other places as well.

    November 15, 2011 at 8:42 pm

  2. Liz

    The frieze is by Torlief Knaphus: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=2a59fc3157a6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1 It is on the exterior of the Edgehill Ward Building on 15th E and about 18th S. in SLC, too.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm

  3. The link didn’t work, but I know exactly the building you are referring to. Thanks for pointing out the artist and the connection with the other building.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:23 am

  4. The artwork is, as noted above, Torlief Knaphus’ representation of Christ speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, and is featured in the Cardston, Alberta Temple. There is also a copy inside the Provo Utah Temple. This link includes a close-up picture of the frieze at the Cardston Temple: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1980/07/torleif-knaphus-sculptor-saint?lang=eng

    April 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    • It’s also in the Manti Tabernacle–in color. Interesting; it seems to be in a lot of places.

      May 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

  5. T.Tate

    The artist is listed correctly in the posts listed. I know first hand about all the conversations and reasoning behind the events of this beautiful chapel during this period of time.
    It was sister Hinckley’s sister, Eveline Pay Henricksen that spoke to her brother in law President Gordon B. Hinckley, informing him of the plan to take the relief out of the chapel. She didn’t really remember how she got word of it as she had not been in the ward for decades. President Hinckley was not aware of the removal possibility. President Hinckley said not “to touch” that relief in the Wells Ward chapel. He of course dated Marjorie in the Wells Ward and had fond memories there. I have spoken to Eveline in person about her conversation with “Gordon” as she referred to him. Eveline is a friend of my mother.
    The display has gone through changes through the years. It originally had drapes on each side with a valence and light along the top. Later in a remodel period, it was framed in wood as shown in the picture. At that time the relief had a crack in it in a slightly diagonal line about 4 ft. from the left side. If you look closely, the repair is visible. It was repaired by a local artist also high councilman J. Dell Morris. It was requested by a church leader to have the rays of light around the Savior’s head taken off. It is still beloved by all who attend Wells Ward.
    I haven’t heard about the Bishop who put his foot down about making the rostrum into classrooms. Not sure that is a true story.
    My father lived in the ward since he was a young boy. My mother moved in when she was 17-18 years old. I am still in the wells ward and know much of its history. My grandmother also wrote a history of the ward in its earliest years. They are printed. I should scan the histories of the chapel and put them on family search. There were many other changes with benches, chandeliers, canvas walls, choir seats, panels over windows,and I especially miss the red Paisley carpet. It’s still incredibly beautiful.

    May 16, 2016 at 1:28 am

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