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.

No comments:

Post a Comment