Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Archive for December, 2011

Blackfoot 1st Ward Exterior


If anyone has info on this building, I would welcome it. Right now I only have the dates of construction from the marker on the front of the building.

187 N Ash
Blackfoot, ID
Built 1928-33
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


Grays Lake Ward Exterior

The small classroom wing was built in 1963 for this remotely located meetinghouse. By 1981, the building was completely remodeled including the addition of a large chapel based on the Aspen Standard plan. The chapel is unique in the 45 degree orientation of the chapel to the classroom wing, the eave detailing, the blue standing-seam metal roof (including the use of the roofing material as siding), and in the steeple design.

94 Grays Lake Road
Wayan, ID
Built 1981
Architect: Paul Walker Jensen
Map Location of Building


Malad 2nd Ward Chapel Interior

20 S 100 W
Malad City, ID
Built 1914
Map Location of Building


Malad 2nd Ward Stained Glass

20 S 100 W
Malad City, ID
Built 1914
Map Location of Building


Original Las Vegas Ward


(Taken August 20, 1932 in Boulder City, shortly after being moved from Las Vegas. Image courtesy Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Region. Wash. No. 01362, B.D. Glaha, photographer.)

This small wood-frame building has quite a unique history. Built from 1924 to 1925 as the first LDS chapel in Las Vegas, the building featured “a small stage and a small room on each side of the stage and a main hall which would seat about 175 people. To create classrooms for Sunday School, we stretched a wire from the front door to the stage and another wire from one side of the chapel to the other. With curtains on these wires we made four class rooms. Another class met on the stage and one class in each tiny room on each side of the stage. The communication was pretty good in the four classrooms in the main hall. A tall man could look over the curtains and without any strain at all you could hear four different Sunday School lessons each Sunday morning.” (From The History of the Las Vegas First Ward, Compiled by Marion B. Earl)

Having outgrown this small building in just seven years, the Ward was busy constructing a much larger Chapel in 1932. By June, they were already holding services in the completed portion of the building. At this time, assigned members from the Boulder City Branch were sent to Las Vegas to see about securing the original building since they were meeting in a rented mortuary. The action was agreeable and the Branch purchased the building for $1,750.

In order to move the building, large jacks were used to lift the Church and put it on timbers. This was all done by hand. Because of the size of the building, the solution was to saw the building in half, transport the building to Boulder City in two pieces, and then reassemble the building at the new location. The sawing of the roof, walls and floor was all done by hand with large saws, crowbars and hammers. When the first half was on the truck and ready to move, men had to sit on top of the building with thick gloves to keep the hanging overhead wires from hitting the building. The trip of 25 miles was slow going, but the first half arrived in Boulder City on June 29, 1932 in the morning. The second half arrived on July 1st. Many of the members made the drive to witness the historic event.

Piecing the chapel back together involved a great deal of work and money, as did adding several rooms to the back of the building. All of this work was completed by the end of the month with the first Sacrament meeting being held on July 31, 1932. An opening social was also held, with an attendance of 200, including the Boulder Dam ‘Six Company’ officials, the Mayor, School Principal, and other government officials. By 1934, the Branch had paid off the debt to the Chapel and the building was ready to dedicate. The Stake President was uncomfortable asking Church President Heber J. Grant to attend the dedication, so Branch President Lawrence Wortley wrote a letter directly to Pres. Grant, who accepted. On the day of dedication, March 25, 1934, the building was packed with people standing in aisles and even hanging out the windows. President Grant sat on the stand in an overstuffed chair brought in from someones home. When a man walked in late, Pres. Grant asked the Branch President who it was. The answer was the Episcopal Bishop from across the street. Pres. Grant made a seat available for him on the stand and invited him to sit with him through the meeting.

Several years later, on Feb. 20, 1937, the Chapel suffered a fire, and the same Episcopal Bishop provided his building to the Branch members to use during repairs. With work on the Hoover Dam completed by this time, many of the workers had recently been laid off and were able to help rebuild the Chapel.

A unique feature in the building was a rope-actuated canvas roll-up curtain at the stage. This stage and hall doubled as the worship space and activity hall. On the curtain were many painted advertisements from the stores and businesses who had donated money for the curtain. Included were ads from Central Fruit Market, Vaughan Department store, The Emporium and the Green Hut Cafe.


By the Fall of 1958, a new and larger meetinghouse was built and completed for Boulder City. As a result, on February 15, 1960 the building was again sold; this time to a Protestant denomination who moved it back to Las Vegas at a site on 25th Avenue, now called Eastern Avenue. (According to Richard Jackson, the building was sold to St. Philip’s Catholic Church, who moved the building from Boulder City to Las Vegas.) Later the building would be used as a homeless shelter, and today is being used as an Episcopal Church. The photo above was taken in 2011 and, as you can see, the chapel is now hardly recognizable as the original building, with all the moving and changes over the years.

Las Vegas Ward
Northwest corner of Sixth and Carson Streets
Las Vegas, NV
Built 1925
Map Location of Building

Boulder City Branch
Utah and Arizona Streets
Boulder City, NV
Moved 1932
Map Location of Building

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
832 N Eastern Ave
Las Vegas, NV
Moved 1960
Map Location of Building

Other Resources:
-‘First Boulder City LDS Chapel’ by Leonard Smith Stubbs
-‘History of Boulder City Nevada Branch, 1999’ by Iris Montague Spafford
-‘Reflections, History of the North Las Vegas Stake’ by Wendell Glen and Bonita Welch Waite
-‘Places of Worship’ by Richard W. Jackson


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


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

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


Bear River Stake Tabernacle Chapel Interior

140 W Factory St
Garland, UT
Built 1906 by unknown architect; Remodeled 2000 by CRSA
Click for Map Location of Building