Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Architects

Bountiful Tabernacle Exterior

This building is unique in that every President of the Church has spoken from its pulpit except for Joseph Smith. Ground was broken by Lorenzo Snow on Feb 11, 1857, with the first stone being laid the next day. Construction was halted and grain stored in its 6′ deep x 9′ high stone foundation during the Utah War in 1858. Built almost entirely of local material and local labor, the building cost was about $60,000. The tower is capped with a unique 5-spired steeple that was part of the original Greek Revival design. Built of adobe walls and roof timbers fastened with wooden pegs, the building was dedicated on March 14, 1863 by Heber C. Kimball at a meeting presided at by Brigham Young.

The spires were blown off the tower during a wind storm in 1906. Although repairs were attempted several times, the spires would remain off the building until they were finally replaced in 1955. A north wing with amusement hall and classrooms was added in 1925. Installation of a new pipe organ and a complete remodel happened in 1942. And a rear wing was added containing a Relief Society room, kitchen and offices in 1957.

March 14, 1963 featured a Centennial celebration, where Hugh B. Brown rededicated the building for another hundred years. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, the Tabernacle today remains the oldest chapel in continuous use in the state of Utah, if not the entire Church.

Sources:
National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
Utah History Encyclopedia
Davis Clipper

55 S. Main
Bountiful, UT
Built 1857-63
Architect: Augustus Farnham
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building


Idaho Falls 4th Ward Exterior

The lot for the building was purchased and paid off by Mar 1932. In Jan 1934, the basement excavation began. Times were hard and much of the labor for the building was done by members of the ward who were asked to raise 40% of the cost of the building. After a great deal of work and donations, a final push was needed to complete the fundraising for the building so it could be dedicated. A Victory Dinner and Dance in the new building was held on Nov 18, 1937 for that purpose. The needed funds were raised and the building was dedicated on Dec 5, 1937 by Pres. Heber J. Grant.

After purchasing the adjoining lot to the east of the Chapel in 1957, a 7000 square foot addition by architect Harold Collard was built in 1958 and dedicated in 1959. The addition included two new bishops offices, a Relief Society room, kitchen, fireside room and classrooms downstairs.

A 1984 remodel included new woodwork, carpet, sound system, choir seats and pews. By 1993 the building was sold to the Salvation Army after 55 years of use when the ward moved into a new standardized meetinghouse built directly adjacent to the Temple, not far from this building. A special farewell meeting and pamphlet was prepared for the occasion, including reminisces by members who had lived in the ward since the construction of the building and helped build it with their own hands.

In 1943 Robert L. Shepherd, who at the time was painting murals for the new Idaho Falls Temple, was commissioned to paint a mural for the front of the chapel. Called the ‘Ten Virgins,’ the painting was in the Chapel until the building was sold in 1993, when it was placed in the Family History Library on Elva Street.

605 North Blvd
Idaho Falls, ID
Built 1934-37; East Wing Addition in 1958-59; Sold 1993
Now Salvation Army
Map Location of Building


Idaho Falls 5th Ward Windows

395 2nd St
Idaho Falls, ID
Built 1937
Architect: Sundberg and Sundberg
Map Location of Building


Idaho Falls 5th Ward Exterior

395 2nd St
Idaho Falls, ID
Built 1937
Architect: Sundberg and Sundberg
Map Location of Building


Centerville 1st Ward Cultural Hall


The exposed structural framework here is quite striking. Built in 1951 and dedicated by Assistant to the Twelve, Alma Sonne, on March 1, 1953.

160 S 300 E
Centerville, UT
Cultural Hall built 1951
Architect: George Cannon Young
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


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


Bear River Stake Tabernacle Pulpits


Inside this beautiful chapel is one of the most unique features I have yet to encounter in an LDS building. There are two pulpits on the stand, one slightly larger and slightly higher than the other; both are perfectly aligned on the center axis of the room. If anyone has the background story as to why there are two pulpits, I would be very interested.

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


Huntington Park Ward Detail

6531 Middleton St
Huntington Park, CA
Built 1926
Architect: Lawrence Nowell
Map Location of Building


Huntington Park Ward Exterior


Groundbreaking was held on Sunday, June 13, 1926 and completed by December 12 of that same year when meetings were first held in the building. The main hall had a seating capacity of 600 with an amusement hall directly below. On Sunday, January 2, 1927 the building was dedicated by Pres. Heber J Grant. Later that year plans were made to greatly expand the building to form the Los Angeles Stake Tabernacle. Construction on this Stake Center began January 3, 1928 and was completed on May 22, 1928. A unique feature of the Tabernacle was a Lounge, the idea of Stake President Caldwell, that offered a luxurious parlor for socializing. The Stake Tabernacle was eventually dedicated on June 2, 1929. More recently the building housed a Spanish-speaking Stake, but now houses only a single Spanish-speaking ward.

6531 Middleton St
Huntington Park, CA
Built 1926
Architect: Lawrence Nowell
Map Location of Building


Garden Park Ward Chapel Interior


This is the only LDS chapel I am familiar with that does not have pews for the congregation. These beautiful theater-type seats appear to be original to the building. The St George Tabernacle also has individual seating, but I’m not counting that since it’s a Tabernacle. I am unsure of who the original architect of the building was, but the extensive remodel done in 2008 was exquisitely done by the local Salt Lake firm of CRSA.

1150 E Yale Ave
Salt Lake City, UT
Built 1939; Remodeled 2008
Original architect unknown; CRSA architect of remodel
Map Location of Building


Paris Tabernacle Ceiling Detail

51 S Main St
Paris, ID
Built 1884-1888; Dedicated 1889 by Wilford Woodruff and George Q Cannon
Architect: Joseph Don Carlos Young
Map Location of Building


Paris Tabernacle Pew

51 S Main St
Paris, ID
Built 1884-1888; Dedicated 1889 by Wilford Woodruff and George Q Cannon
Architect: Joseph Don Carlos Young
Map Location of Building


Paris Tabernacle Chapel Interior

51 S Main St
Paris, ID
Built 1884-1888; Dedicated 1889 by Wilford Woodruff and George Q Cannon
Architect: Joseph Don Carlos Young
Map Location of Building


Paris Tabernacle Exterior


Quite possibly the greatest Tabernacle in the Church, built in one of the most remote locations.

51 S Main St
Paris, ID
Built 1884-1888; Dedicated 1889 by Wilford Woodruff and George Q Cannon
Architect: Joseph Don Carlos Young
Map Location of Building


Hollywood Stake Tabernacle Courtyard

1209 S Manhattan Pl
Los Angeles, CA
Built 1928
Architect: Pope and Burton
Map Location of Building


Hollywood Stake Tabernacle Chapel Interior


Sadly, while I was there, the timing was not right for taking pictures in this magnificent chapel, but I was able to get a couple of skewed photos to at least get a feel for the space. One of my favorite features that also shows up in a Phoenix chapel by the same architects is all the colorfully-painted detailing on the dark wooden beams. The rostrum was fantastic, and uniquely included large red plush chairs centered behind the pulpit. At the rear of the chapel was a balcony which I also couldn’t get access to. I will definitely need to plan another trip to Southern California.

1209 S Manhattan Pl
Los Angeles, CA
Built 1928
Architect: Pope and Burton
Map Location of Building


Hollywood Stake Tabernacle Entry Lobby

1209 S Manhattan Pl
Los Angeles, CA
Built 1928
Architect: Pope and Burton
Map Location of Building


Hollywood Stake Tabernacle Window Detail


Cultural Hall Windows as seen from the internal courtyard.

1209 S Manhattan Pl
Los Angeles, CA
Built 1928
Architect: Pope and Burton
Map Location of Building


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