Sunday, July 16, 2017

American Fork Third Ward

The American Fork Third Ward's chapel was originally built in 1903-1905. It had additions in the 1930s and 1950s that added a recreation hall and classrooms.

(Image Source: Church History Library)


Changes to the building over time were not always sensitive to the building's original design--for example, in the 1970s, the stained glass window and tower entrance were bricked in. The wood doors were all replaced. Finally, when the Church sold the building in 1994, they removed the steeple first--probably so the building would no longer appear as a place of worship. This is a confusing policy, and the only other place I've seen it implemented was for the Smithfield Tabernacle. In both cases, the building's appearance is definitely lacking because of the change. Many other buildings were sold with their steeple, so why was this one removed?


The building was a preschool from 1994 to 2000; after that, it became the Northampton House, a reception center. At this point, many of the building's original features were restored, including a stained glass window (not the original) and the tower's entry doors (but not the steeple).


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Thirty-third Ward (Salt Lake)

I actually haven't been able to do some digging to find out when this meetinghouse was built. The ward was organized around the turn of the century and some sources indicate that the meetinghouse was built in 1902. The building is on the east side of the city; around 1100 E and 500 S.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

Unsurprisingly, the building has had a few remodels, one of which included the removal of the arched window and doors at the building's front. They were replaced with one square door and stone carvings.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
I don't really like any changes to historic buildings (if I can help it), but the stone carvings are very well done.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mesa Temple to be Renovated

After much anticipation (on my part), the Church announced today that the Mesa Temple will be closing for renovations from May 2018 through 2020.


I will gather details as they become available. For details on the interior of the Mesa Temple, see here. For a post on changes I would like to see in the renovation, see here. The main changes I would like to see would be a full restoration of the murals (although large parts would just need to be redone entirely) and the restoration of progression (now possible due to a reduction in the temple district size, thanks to new temples in Phoenix, Gilbert, and other areas). I'm sure existing murals will be carefully preserved, as will the temple's current architecture. It's exciting to see what may happen!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

"Those Who've Gone Before": Salt Lake Fourteenth Ward

This series honors LDS Architecture that is no longer standing. To see all the posts in this series, click here.

Built in the 1910s, the Fourteenth Ward chapel in Salt Lake City had some rather plain architecture. However, it had a huge stained glass window that really set it apart.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
As you can see, the chapel itself, while nice, wasn't very ornate.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
 However, at the back of the chapel stood a huge stained glass window that faced the street.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
The chapel was torn down in the 1960s; the Salt Lake Palace was built in its spot. However, the window was saved, and is on display in the Church History Museum.


I should have included something for scale, because this window is quite large--I would guess around 8 feet tall; maybe taller.



This window really made the chapel something unique. It's quite ornate, and I'm glad it's been saved and preserved by the Church.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Smithfield Fourth Ward

This chapel was built in 1940 and has a fairly nice appearance. It is similar to the Salt Lake Twelfth Ward, albeit with some differences.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
The major change has been the window material and the removal of the window going into the chapel. It's unfortunate that the brick that replaced it doesn't match as well, too. Still, it's some unique architecture.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Scottsdale First Ward

I wrote a post a few months ago that briefly mentioned the endangered status of the historic Scottsdale First Ward (in Arizona). Since then, with the help of blog reader Chris Schweikart, I've been able to piece together a history of the building that gives some insight into the treatment of historic buildings in the Church. The Scottsdale Ward was created on March 16, 1947, and within 3 years they were beginning construction on their own chapel. The building was dedicated on December 21, 1952.
(Image Source: Chris Schweikart)

You'll notice that the building was fairly small in comparison to its later size. The chapel and the recreation hall were perpendicular to each other, and the chapel had a choir loft with some nice stained glass. (That stained glass is still in the building.)

Original chapel; the pulpit was to the right. (Image Source: Structured Real Estate)

 (Image Source: Structured Real Estate)

This original building was soon to small to effectively serve the ward, so by 1958 there was a big remodeling project. The recreation hall became the new chapel, rooms were added to the building, and the original chapel became classrooms and other meeting areas. This is a fairly big change to have after only 6 years of service. It also meant that the new chapel had doors on its north wall that led directly into the chapel. This meant that one ward couldn't exit their Sunday School classes when another ward was having their Sacrament meeting, so all of those classrooms were given exterior doors.

Sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, another remodeling added more classrooms (completely encasing the classrooms that used to open outdoors) and redid the entrance and spire to the building. It looked much more modern than before. In fact, by this point, there had been so many projects that the building looked almost completely different.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

(Image Source: Church History Library)

Even so, the building would have been preserved, if not for a fire set by an arsonist on November 7, 1973. Three different fires were set, resulting in damage to the roof and water damage in the building. The damage that the fire caused, especially to the roof and attic, probably could have been repaired; the majority of the building was in good condition. Nevertheless, it was decided that the building would be sold and a new chapel would be built. This decision was likely influenced by the age of the building--renovations and repairs on older buildings can be notoriously expensive, and the Church is often more willing to build an entirely new chapel than refurbish an old one. In 1974 or 1975, the chapel was sold.

It served as an office building for a while, and some other changes were made. In recent years, it sat abandoned, and in 2012, it was slated for demolition. Those plans (thankfully) were never carried out but as recently as last year, it was listed by one local newspaper as an "Endangered Building."

(Image Source: Structured Real Estate; captions by Chris Schweikart)

Fortunately, in April 2016, the building was purchased by Structured Real Estate, an organization which specializes in re-purposing old buildings. The meetinghouse will now hold offices and a restaurant.

The Scottsdale Ward may be considered a fairly plain example of a chapel for which the Church no longer has any use. However, its story ends up being a good example of the dynamic changes that our meetinghouses can undergo. It was built too small, and ended up having various renovations which did not match its original architecture and which created confusing floor plans.

(Image Source: Structured Real Estate; captions by Chris Schweikart)

In spite of all of the work done on the building, when the fires damaged the structure, the Church was all too willing to leave the meetinghouse behind and build a new structure. Perhaps the building was not considered worth saving, between its various remodelings and its relatively plain architectural appearance. But it is still a lovely building. 

(Image Source: Structured Real Estate)

The Church is now much more careful about the way it treats its building, but that's also because it has so few architectural treasures left. The Scottsdale Ward will continue to stand and serve a useful purpose, but the opportunity for it to stand as an architectural, historical, and cultural icon for the Church is largely lost.

(Image Source: Structured Real Estate)