Sunday, August 31, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
While I did take some interior pictures, they didn't turn out very well. Many others have been able to photograph the interior, though:
(Photograph by J. Steven Conn; Image Source)
The Tabernacle is also open for tours during the summer. Patrons can walk around the interior and watch a short film on the history of the tabernacle. The building is still used for local stake conferences and firesides, as well as other community events--in short, it still serves in its traditional role as a community and Church tabernacle.
Monday, August 25, 2014
The reason the history of the chapel in Kane, Pennsylvania is so interesting is that it wasn't built by the Church, yet the Church was invested heavily in its preservation. Since the Church is usually reluctant to engage in preservation anyway, I find it fascinating that they were willing to do so for this chapel.
Built as a Presbyterian Church in 1878, the Church was dedicated to General Kane, who was friendly to the Mormon Church and advised Brigham Young on how to deal with the U.S. Government.
After a while the Church was abandoned, and was in poor condition (and considered for demolition) when purchased by the Church in 1970. The Church restored the building and stationed missionaries there to give tours. As recently as 1992, the building was carefully preserved.
The interior contained beautiful stained glass and a pipe organ, and the congregation faces Jerusalem.
Unfortunately, in February 2013, a water pipe burst and caused $50,000 in water damage. The Kane Preservation Society offered to look after the chapel, and after an agreement was reached, the Church gave the building to the society at the beginning of this month.
Recently, I took a trip to Southeastern Utah. I decided to see if there were any historical LDS structures to visit along the way. As I researched, I found pictures of the original chapels that dotted that corridor:
Helper, Utah Ward Meetinghouse (Source: Church History Library)
Wellington, Utah Ward Meetinghouse (Source: Church History Library)
Price, Utah LDS Tabernacle (Source: Church History Library)
None of those buildings--and others I looked up--are standing anymore. As I passed through, I could see the steeples of standard-plan LDS meetinghouses.
I'm pretty sympathetic to the position of the Church--if they have mission objectives to meet for a worldwide Church, should thousands of dollars be spent to renovate buildings in Helper, Utah? Many chapels become to small (as those in Helper and Wellington did); is the Church under an obligation to keep those? What about those that become structurally deficient?
The Church can't possibly keep all of the meetinghouses and chapels that its members built in its early years. But which ones should it keep? Those are the issues that still cause struggles between modernists and preservationists.
For now, I would like the Church to be more communicative and involve local communities more in its decisions. If it could be honest about its reasons and invite community members to share their ideas on what to do with old buildings, we can have honest communication. And the Church does this much better than it did in the past.
Still, I think its the responsibility of the members of the Church--and not the Church leaders alone--to work to preserve and care for the historic architecture that surrounds them.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
I was able to recently visit the temple in Idaho Falls, and while it may not be "pioneer" architecture, it is significant in that it was the last temple truly built for a live endowment. (The Los Angeles Temple also had all four rooms, but from its dedication used a tape recording to facilitate the presentation of the endowment.) Even though the temple now uses film to present the endowment, its unique architecture remains, and I wanted to give a brief walkthrough of the temple. The pictures of the interior come from The Idaho Falls Temple: The First LDS Temple in Idaho, by Delbert V. Groberg; I've also added pictures from the Mormon Newsroom's article on the recent renovation and open house.
First, I liked the arrangement of the temple's lobby and chapel (called 'assembly room,' but really the chapel) where patrons gather before a session begins. Patrons enter the lobby from the recommend desk. On either side are corridors leading to the locker rooms; at the front are the doors leading to the chapel. Above these doors are painted the words, "The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him" (Habakkuk 2:20).
|Idaho Falls Temple Lobby|
|Idaho Falls Mural and Staircase|
|Idaho Falls Creation Room|
|Idaho Falls Creation Room|
It gives us the perspective of the Creator, which is unique to any creation room I've been in. I also liked how stars twinkled down from the ceiling at the appropriate part of the presentation.
|Idaho Falls Creation Room|
|Garden Room, looking toward the back of the room|
Idaho Falls Garden Room
The most striking thing about the garden room are the two trees at the front (representing the two main trees in the Garden of Eden), which are not only painted, but also carved into the wall. This gives them a three-dimensional effect that made them stand out. They are technically bas-reliefs, and surprisingly, they were done by Torleif Knaphus, a Mormon artist with many well-known works.
|Idaho Falls Garden Room|
|Idaho Falls Garden Room Tree Detail|
Idaho Falls World Room - Back (South Wall)
Idaho Falls World Room - Side (East Wall)
Idaho Falls World Room - Side (West Wall)
The world room murals teach a lot of different aspects that gave me additional insight into the teachings of the endowment. This is the whole purpose of murals, so I really enjoyed it.
|Idaho Falls World Room|
This mural includes a pioneer wagon train crossing the landscape into the Salt Lake Valley, as well a depiction of the miracle of the seagulls. A pioneer couple tills the ground, clearly reminiscent and symbolic of Adam and Eve--the first to work on the earth. These depictions speak to temple patrons of the difficulty of this world, but also the joys and miracles we experience while living here. Heber J. Grant, upon touring this room, responded by "terming the mural as an innovation and expressing enthusiastic approval...satisfaction was given by J. Reuben Clark and other high church officials."
When I went through the temple (around 2012), the curtains were all shut in the creation, garden, and world rooms. I thought this was a real shame, since the windows are stained glass (which means the curtains don't need to be closed for privacy). I understand the use of film might require darkness, but other temples (such as Oquirrh Mountain) have curtains that open and close automatically, as needed. Fortunately, all of the new pictures of the temple show the curtains open, which gives me hope that these windows will be visible when the film isn't being used in the endowment.
The terrestrial room is next:
|Idaho Falls Terrestrial Room|
|Idaho Falls Temple Stained Glass|
Patrons pass through the veil of the temple into the celestial room, which also has murals. These were done by Lee Greene Richards. On the east wall (the view patrons see as they enter), there are paintings representing the eternal rest of those who have lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. The whole room is painted as a landscape, suggesting that the celestial kingdom isn't a building or a place--it's a whole world for the Saints of God to enjoy. According to LDS doctrine, families are united for eternity.
Idaho Falls Celestial Room - East Wall
A couple of sealing rooms are also located off the south side of the celestial room.
Idaho Falls Celestial Room - Southeast Corner; one of the two sealing rooms is visible
On the west wall is a depiction of the vision of John the Beloved, seeing the New Jerusalem descend from the sky.
Idaho Falls Celestial Room - West Wall (on the left are two sealing rooms)
In this interpretation, the city in the vision is Temple Square--the outlines of the Salt Lake Temple and Assembly Hall are clearly visible.
The roof of the celestial room opens up into the tower. You will notice that the more recent pictures appear much more bright than the old ones; I believe the renovation has opened up more windows along the sides of the room.
The ordinance rooms are not the only ones to have murals; the baptistry also has murals. These were also done by Lee Greene Richards. The main mural (visible here) is The Baptism of Jesus; on the left is The Baptism of Oliver and Joseph, and on the right is The Baptizing of a Convert. Richards also painted quotes from D&C 20:37 and D&C 128:15 over the entrance to the baptistry.
The oxen are quite unique in comparison to other temples--they were done in a very modern style.
This temple is lovely. It has a variety of styles (true to the time period in which it was built), and it has been lovingly restored. I highly recommend attending this temple if you get the chance.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Saturday, August 2, 2014
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.
Renovation of Blanding Tabernacle
I recently came across an article talking about the renovation of the Blanding Tabernacle. It is also referred to as the Blanding South Chapel, the Grayson Tabernacle, and the San Juan Stake Tabernacle. It was dedicated in 1915. Here are some pictures (this is a little-known tabernacle, so it's hard to find good ones):
Original view of the Tabernacle, shortly after its dedication (Source: Church History Library)
Another view of the tabernacle (Image Source)
A more recent picture of the front (Source: Church History Library)
It is unfortunate that so much stained glass has been removed from the building as it originally was. A better picture of the current building can be found here.
Chapel, looking toward the rostrum (Source: Church History Library)
Chapel, looking toward the back (Source: Church History Library)
I like the cry room on the second story in the back. According to the article, the ceiling lost its rounded feature in its 1980 renovation.
Close-up of the rostrum (Source: Church History Library)
While I'm glad the building is being preserved, it's unfortunate that the original plan to "[take] it back to its original state," including bringing back the domed ceiling in the chapel, was shelved. I do understand that it would probably cost a lot more. They did say there would be surprises, so I'll have to keep checking the news. I hope they restore the original paint job--apparently, the original apricot and turquoise tones were whitewashed in the remodel, too.
Work on Alpine Tabernacle
I've noticed that crews have been doing some work on the base of the Alpine Tabernacle. I haven't seen any news articles on the work, and no interior/major work is being done. It looks like they're mostly inspecting the red brick, so it's not too big of a project.
Changes to Ogden Tabernacle Completed
While hardly pioneer architecture (since it was dedicated in 1953), the Ogden Tabernacle holds the important distinction of being the Church's last tabernacle. I have never visited the tabernacle (I will do so at the open house this month), but was able to see the changes to the interior using Google:
Chapel Interior: Before (unable to post image due to copyright)
Chapel Interior: After (Image Source)
Exterior: Before (Image Source)
Exterior: After (Image Source, courtesy Jeff James)
Needless to say, preserving the original look of the tabernacle was not the Church's goal here. I don't mind the addition of the pipes. I did like the steeple, but I think it looks fine without it. It also looks like stained glass has been added to the front, instead of clear glass. I don't mind that, either.
In short, lots of work has been going on with tabernacles this summer!