Monday, June 30, 2014

St. George Temple

The architecture of the St. George Temple, while less preserved than other temples (especially on the interior), is still beautiful to see. I was able to attend a session in the temple, and had some thoughts:

  • I strongly agree with the author of this blog in hoping that progression will be restored to this temple. I can see how there could be some difficulties, though--it was a very full session when I attended on a Tuesday morning. Since St. George is partly a retirement community, I guess people can attend at all hours. Switching to the progressive form again (where patrons move between the creation, garden, world, terrestrial, and celestial rooms) would mean that sessions could only start every hour, instead of every 40 minutes. Perhaps that's a big difference. 
  • My session was entirely in the world room, before moving to the terrestrial room (called the "veil room") and the celestial room. Only a small portion of the mural remains (about half of one wall). While the world room also has windows, since it's on the south side of the temple, the curtains are so thick that absolutely no light comes in. I assume that this is so that patrons can see the film, but I wish they could open the curtains during the portions of the ceremony that do not require the film. I know that the Oquirrh Mountain Temple has curtains that open and close automatically when the film starts or stops, so it's definitely possible.
  • I'm not entirely familiar with the floor plans of the temple, but it's too bad that the circular staircases inside the temple couldn't be utilized in some manner.
I still love the temple, but I hope that a future renovation can restore more of the pioneer architecture (as has been done with Laie Hawaii, and as I hope will also occur at Mesa and Logan).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Manti Tabernacle

Dedicated in 1882, the Manti Tabernacle was originally an assembly hall that the congregation would divide with curtains in order to hold classes. Eventually, the congregation took out part of the hall to create a first floor that would hold classrooms. Later, an addition was put onto the west side of the building. Currently, the tabernacle is undergoing a renovation. This picture was taken just a couple of weeks before scaffolding and construction crews took over.

While the tabernacle wasn't open when I visited, I have been inside before. I was able to find a picture of the chapel on this site.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Three Mile Creek Ward Chapel

Built in 1890, the Three Mile Creek Ward (later renamed the Perry Ward) building has stood for over a century. It was purchased by the local Heritage Theatre in 1975 after having stood vacant for several years. It's apparent that the building has undergone some changes:

(Source: Church History Library)

It's unfortunate that the tower has changed so drastically from its original appearance; the older version was much more authentic to the building.

(Source: Church History Library)

By the time this picture was taken, the newer tower was up. Unfortunately, neither of these pictures provide a clear view of what was inscribed in the circle above the main entrance. That circle has since been removed and bricked in. If anyone has any information on what the circle originally had inscribed, I would be very interested to know.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Parowan Tabernacle: Interior

The museum housed in the Parowan Tabernacle is run by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. There is no charge to enter, and patrons can either take a self-guided tour or be given one from one of the society members. Patrons can even ring the bell in the tower by pulling on the rope.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Levan Ward Chapel: Wheat Stone Carving Detail

From what I could tell, these carvings were only on one corner of the chapel. I love the detail in them. I imagine that they are a tribute to the agricultural nature of Levan. They also bring to mind the symbolism given in the parable of the wheat and the tares.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Parowan Tabernacle

Completed in 1867, the Parowan Tabernacle was used heavily by the community until it was replaced by a new meetinghouse in 1916. It was then largely abandoned, and people even tore off its steps and fences to use as firewood.

 (Source: Church History Library)
Years later, the Church gifted the building to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and it currently holds a museum that is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 1-5 PM on every day except Sunday. It's a good example of members taking the initiative to save older buildings.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Levan Ward Chapel

I quickly discovered that it was not the ideal time of day to photograph the Levan Chapel, but I didn't have time to stick around. It's interesting to compare the building now to what it's looked like in the past:

Source: LDS Church History Library

It appears the entrance to the chapel was originally further back, underneath the arch. I like that look better.

Source: LDS Church History Library

In this image, the tower looks different--it doesn't have the details that it does now. I think I prefer the newer tower; but I'm not sure if the current version or the one in this picture is how it originally looked. The tower in this picture just looks foreign compared to the rest of the building, which is why I like the newer one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Preservation Update: Chapel in Teasdale Demolished

Note: Preservation Updates are a regularly occurring series of posts where I round up recent information on historic LDS buildings and their futures. Depending on the age of the post, there may be newer information available. Click here to see all Preservation Updates.

On June 6, the chapel in Teasdale, Utah was demolished. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that it was completed in 1947. It was a lovely building, and it's a shame it was torn down.
Source: LDS Church History Library

While the struggle between preservation and demolition may not be as controversial and widely known as in the days of the Coalville Tabernacle, it continues on. The lovely chapel in Paradise, Utah was demolished in 2013 (it's chapel walls included hand-painted flowers). 

Source: LDS Church History Library

One of Parowan's older churches, constructed in 1928, was also razed in 2013.

Source: LDS Church History Library

And a stake center that was built during the Great Depression was destroyed just last month.
lds church 2004_6in_72dpi
Source: Arizona Mormon News

Obviously, the LDS Church is still making tough decisions on which chapels to preserve and restore, and which ones to replace. While it may be easy for us to demand that all worthy architecture be preserved, it's difficult for the Church leaders to make those decisions with the usual demands of a growing Church. In many cases, the buildings either have no congregation to house (as in Teasdale) or would require significant upgrades and repairs that make it cheaper to build a new building.

In short, it is our responsibility as members of our communities to preserve pioneer architecture by making our desires known (respectfully), and, if necessary, offering to preserve it ourselves (as has occurred with structures in Heber, Utah; Blackfoot, Idaho; Parowan, Utah; and countless other locations). It's our duty--not the Church's.

Still, it's a complicated matter. The Teasdale community had developed a plan to repurpose the chapel as a museum and preserve the building, but the Church decided to demolish the building and give away the land. The Church always has concern on the future of its buildings--even when passed to a different owner--and in the past has shown a willingness to demolish buildings rather than sell them (and take the chance of them falling into disrepair).

Currently, I am working on a research paper on the demolition and preservation of LDS Tabernacles that highlight preservation trends and give specific examples. By the end of the summer, I hope to post a summary of the research in a series of posts in this blog. And let's keep an eye on the architecture around us, and do our part to make sure it's preserved.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Timpanogos Ward Chapel: Interior

I have found old interior pictures of the Timpanogos Ward from a ward history book. The original chapel used to look like this for much of the twentieth century:

There was a beautiful painting of the Susquehanna River at the front of the chapel, but it was covered up by a renovation in 1976.

 This was the view toward the back.

The room now serves as a classroom, and a bigger chapel has been built onto another portion of the building.

It appears that in the renovation, the original room was cut off to form a hallway. It's not very deep; only about five pews fit in the middle section.

It's still a beautiful room, though.