Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Building Exteriors

Brooklyn Branch Chapel Exterior

Fantastic modern chapel designed for the Brooklyn Branch by architects Pope and Burton. Dedicated Feb 16, 1919 in three sessions by Apostle Reed Smoot.

Those on the program included:
Reed Smoot, Quorum of the Twelve
Harvey Fletcher, physicist credited with invention of the hearing aid
Rudger Clawson, President of the Twelve

265 Gates Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Architect: Pope and Burton
Built 1918; Dedicated 1919; Sold 1963
Now Evening Star Baptist Church (aka Church of the Red Door)
Map Location of Building

Clearfield Ward Exterior

I don’t have much info on this building yet, but will be researching some of its history in the next week. My guess is it was built in the early 1900’s. It has probably been vacant and in disrepair for many years, especially as the homes and town moved away from Main street. I am surpised it is still standing at all, considering the industrialized neighborhood. A wonderful building, though.

Here is a 1935 painting of the building by LeConte Stewart
Utah State Historical Society photo of building

380 S Main St
Clearfield, UT
Built ??
Now vacant and in great disrepair, used for storage
Map Location of Building

Porterville Ward Detail

Built 1898
Sold 1942 and remodeled into a private residence
Destroyed by fire in 2000
Map Location of Building

Porterville Ward Exterior

Built 1898
Sold 1942 and remodeled into a private residence
Destroyed by fire in 2000

This meetinghouse is located on a beautiful site, elevated above the town and the river running adjacent. Built of a stone base and brick structure in 1898, the building cost around $5000 to construct. Containing a single large chapel space on the main floor, the room was able to be subdivided by curtains for Sunday School classes. The basement was an open hall for activities and dances. The original design contained a weather vane and a bell tower above the entry door on the west side.

The building is currently for sale.

1920 photo showing the main entry with original tower.
Here is an image of the building as a private residence prior to the fire.

Additional information:
The Old Porterville Ward
Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning by C. Mark Hamilton, pg 88-89.
Wikipedia entry on Porterville, Utah

Chevy Chase Ward Meetinghouse Exterior

Located at the western edge of Washington DC, across the street into Maryland, this building is the current meeting place of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. From what I understand, he attends this ward more often than his ward in Nevada. If Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States in November and moves into the White House, this building is where he would most likely attend church. I am unsure of when the building was built yet, but my guess is sometime in the 50’s.

5460 Western Ave
Chevy Chase, MD
Map Location of Building

San Diego 3rd and 8th Ward Exterior

It was difficult to get a shot of this building with all the trees at the sidewalk and with a tall security fence surrounding the building. This photo is of the chapel, taken from the sidewalk in front of the building. The Cultural Hall is unconnected and to the right of this photo. Access between the two is through an internal courtyard.

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

Beverly Hills Ward Exterior

Also known as the Westwood Ward Chapel. This building has a similar, but not as grand entry as the Las Vegas 9th Ward Chapel, also designed by Harold Burton.

10740 Ohio Ave
Los Angeles, CA
Built 1950
Architect: Harold W Burton
Map Location of Building

Paradise Ward Farewell

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Yesterday I was fortunate to visit this building for the first time. It also happened to be the last day that worship services would be held. Even though it was Easter Sunday, members of the ward lingered long after services to reminisce, take pictures and just to sit and enjoy the Chapel for the last time while the bell in the tower rang outside for the small community of Paradise to hear.

As you can see, part of the building has already been removed exposing the original stone of the 1877 chapel. There was a nice display in the lobby with old photos of the chapel, some of the original stone as well as drawings of the new building to replace this one. Apparently they will save the bell to put into the new steeple. This bell was part of the original 1877 chapel. Also, some of the original stone will be used on the front elevation as a decorative feature.

Some of my favorite features of the building were the exposed stone, the railing in the lobby, the cry room in the balcony behind glass, the pulpit, the hand-painted flowers throughout the chapel, the abundance of natural light in the chapel, and the pews up in the cry room. I may be completely wrong, but if I were to guess, I would say those pews in the balcony are from the original building. The pews down in the chapel appeared to be from the 1952 addition. Rumor has it that some of the interior painting in the chapel was done by the same artist who painted scenes in the Salt Lake Temple Celestial room.

There was an attempt to save the building and have it be used as a community center that made it all the way to the First Presidency, but that request was denied. As a result the building that has stood here as a centerpiece for the town since 1877 will very soon be demolished.

9060 S 200 W
Paradise, UT
Original Chapel built 1877
Classrooms added 1902
New chapel addition 1952 by architect Lawrence D Olpin
Cultural Hall addition 1979
Scheduled to be torn down April 2012
Map Location of Building

San Bernardino 1st Ward Exterior

The city and valley of San Bernardino were founded by Mormon pioneers sent by Brigham Young. However, it would be many years before Church members would build their own Chapel. Ground was broken in 1930 when the congregation was still a Branch. LDS member William Harber was selected as both the architect and builder on the project. The building was completed and dedicated some time in 1933. I was unable to find an exact date. By 1935 the Branch had grown large enough to become a Ward. From this point until 1942, money was raised to add a Recreation Hall and additional classrooms in a separate building. Part of this newer building can be seen in the left side of the photo. Construction began in May of that year and was dedicated on October 9, 1943 by Marvin O. Ashton of the Presiding Bishopric. I have not as yet been able to find out when the building was sold, but it may have been in January 1975 when a new Stake Center in the city was dedicated. The building now functions as a Christian Baptist Church.

901 F Street
San Bernardino, CA
Built 1933; Sold 1975?
Architect: William Harber
Now Iglesia Cristiana Bautista
Map Location of Building

Salt Lake Assembly Hall Exterior

Construction began on this Victorian Gothic Tabernacle on August 11, 1877. The architect was Obed Taylor, one of six architects in the city in 1879. By April 7, 1880 the building was opened to the public and a description was given of the work still needing to be done. It was stated that the building was nearing completion. Sometime later that year the building was completed because on August 7, 1880 a Priesthood meeting was held there. Almost a year after this, the architect unexpectedly died on August 2, 1881. The funeral services in the Deseret News stated of him, “The Salt Lake Assembly Hall is a sample of his skill in that line, and although Obed has been summoned from our midst, that structure alone will always keep his name in the fond remembrance of this people.” (Deseret News 2 Aug 1881) The building would officially be dedicated by President Joseph F Smith on January 8, 1882 at a 2pm session of Stake Conference. (ibid. 18 Jan 1882)

With seating capacity for nearly 2000 people, the building was constructed with left-over granite from the Salt Lake Temple. A feature included a four-foot weather vane of a flying angel at the top of the tower. Additionally, the truncated spires used to function as chimneys. In 1882 the Provo Tabernacle by William Folsom would be patterned after this design at the request of local Church leaders. Folsom and Taylor had previously worked together on the ZCMI cast-iron facade, which incidentally is making another debut tomorrow as part of the new City Creek Center opening. As a result, the plans of these two Tabernacles were similar with the original interiors nearly identical. (Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning, page 72-73.)

50 W North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT
Built 1877-80
Architect: Obed Taylor
Map Location of Building