Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

San Diego 3rd and 8th Ward Chapel Interior

I was blown away by just about every detail of this meetinghouse. Definitely one of my favorite mid-century buildings.

5299 Trojan Ave
San Diego, CA
Built 1962
Architect: Deems and Martin Associates
Map Location of Building


14 responses

  1. CatherineWO

    I love all of your posts, but when I opened this one, I just went , “Wow!” Thank you.

    April 24, 2012 at 11:03 pm

  2. Philmore

    Did you see this?|topnews|text|Frontpage

    April 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    • Very cool – I hadn’t heard about it. Thanks for the heads up.

      April 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

  3. Trying to tell how the sacrament table is arranged in this chapel. It looks like just an unbroken rostrum at the front.

    April 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    • The surface used for the sacrament is not visible in this photo. It is on the left side behind the paneling for the rostrum, but it’s sunk down below the top of the paneling by about 3 inches, making it just barely hidden from this angle.

      September 14, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      • Lance

        originally, back in the 70’s and before to when it was originally built, the sacrament table was actually front and center down in front of the speaker rostrum. I don’t know when they changed it. But I served as a priest in the San Diego 3rd ward and left on my mission from that building in 1977.

        July 25, 2015 at 11:38 pm

  4. I attended this ward building as a 4-5 year old and then later as a teenager I attended many church dances there. I LOVED that building. It was most commonly referred to as the “Trojan Building”. The best part was the sunken cultural hall, true to its mid-century design. It remained true to the San Diego environment and was a treasure. The foyer was actually outside and I remember being able to cool off during dances outside right out the doors of the cultural hall but remain within the safety of the church campus.

    May 5, 2012 at 1:22 am

  5. Lowell Goodsell

    I served in the CA San Diego Mission from 1976 to 1978. We had a zone conference at the “Trojan Building” while I was there. I loved and was very intrigued by the building. However, mission lore said that on the Sunday that the building was dedicated, the services started an hour late because the G.A. who arrived to dedicate the building originally refused, and spent over an hour on the phone arguing with someone(s) in SLC about whether or not he would…or had to. According to the story, when his driver, bringing him from the airport, first pulled up to the building, the G.A. said, “This isn’t the right place! I’m here to dedicate an LDS chapel, not a Lutheran church!” Among the things that infuriated him were the mid-century “wing windows” that formed the side walls of the chapel, the “wedding aisle” down the center of the chapel, and the fact that the cultural hall was physically detached from the chapel area so that it could not be used as an overflow.

    I would love to know if this missionary “urban legend” is true!

    June 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

    • Bruce Richardson

      The urban legend is false. The building was dedicated by the then stake president Barry P. Knudson who later served as a Regional Representative of the 12. The building is wonderfully unique. it was designed by Bill Lewis a San Diego architect and built and paid for by the members. It has served the San Diego community with distinction since. The architect, Bill Lewis, some years later will design the San Diego Temple and serve as a sealer therein. There were and are design elements in the Trojan Building that later appear in the temple.

      May 3, 2016 at 5:32 pm

  6. James wilkerson

    How did the church get away with a center aisle? Chapel looks very Lutheran.

    May 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm

  7. Dale

    Love this chapel! Was a missionary from 80-82. The organ rocked! loved playing it!

    November 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    • Steve Ward

      so was i, is this Dale Pedroche? It’s Steve Ward. I’m in San Diego and i’m going to visit the chapel tomorrow to see the old place 🙂

      June 13, 2014 at 1:27 am

      • Rebecca

        When I was a little girl, I used to play in the organ area after Sacrament Meeting while my primary teacher, who was also the ward organist, played the postlude (cir. 1970’s). And yes, the sacrament table used to be in the center in front of the rostrum. Many happy memories of this building where I attended for many many years. I still live fairly close by but haven’t been in the chapel for ages. . . It is a lovely and very functional building. It has an interior courtyard and a small amphitheater outside of the cultural hall that are unique design elements to this meeting house. I have always loved the beauty and functionality of this beautiful meeting house. I wish there were more like it. . .

        December 21, 2015 at 10:47 pm

  8. Paul Maglio

    I grew up and (until recently) attended church in this building as a member of 3rd (and then 4th) ward. This is by far my favorite chapel in the church. As others have mentioned, the sacrament table used to be center front, but it was moved when the building was renovated in the 80’s. Also, the chairs up front used to be hard-wood benches (not very comfortable). When the chapel was being renovated, the baby-grand lived in our front room until it was time for it to return home. Lots of great memories in that building.
    Another interesting note, when the building was being renovated the first time (went through two in less than a decade), someone broke in right before the renovation was to take place and flooded the gym floor. We were supposed to have a ward dinner the next night. Instead of cancelling, we decided to set up chairs and tables around the warped floorboards.

    August 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm

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