Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Preservation Update: Logan Tabernacle Basement Renovation, Murals Restored in Manti and D.C.

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.
The Herald Journal is reporting that the Family History Center in the basement of the Logan Tabernacle is being renovated. The renovation includes "new artwork, carpet and paint colors...the entryway will be redesigned, [and] a sitting area and study area will be added, as well as a family room."


For those unfamiliar with the Logan Tabernacle, the main and second floors contain the assembly hall, and are generally well-preserved.

Logan Tabernacle inside

The basement contains the family history center and a baptismal font. When I visited this tabernacle, the basement looked fairly modernized and little, if any, historical elements remaining. The Logan Tabernacle was dedicated in 1891.


Scott Haskins runs a Facebook page covering his restoration of art, which sometimes includes LDS art. Recently, he's reported that he's restored this mural in the Manti Temple (it looks to me like it's in the baptistry, but I can't be certain):

Photo: This week we are involved with an interesting project of plaster layers behind the mural that are delaminating (see photo with directional lighting - or raking light - which highlights the bulging detachments). In this case, the mural was painted on a canvas in 1947 then marouflaged to the wall. So, the process includes protecting the fragile or brittle paint layers with resins and facing layers, then dissecting the plaster layers to release the mural. We are in the process as I write this, projecting to have it off the wall by the end of the week. Then we'll take the removed mural to our lab in Santa Barbara, CA where we will prepare it for reinstallation next April.

 And last month, they worked on the mural "The Final Judgment," which is recognized among most LDS communities. The original is located in the Washington D.C. Temple (and, even though most copies don't show it, the mural shows that temple on the left side).

   (Image Source)

He also posted back in February that he was working on the murals in the St. George Temple and that "more extensive work is scheduled for 5 years." If his sources are correct and plans don't change, then we'd know that the Idaho Falls Temple will be renovated from 2015-16, and the St. George Temple will be renovated beginning in 2019 or so. I hope these renovations keep (and restore) original elements.

UPDATE: This news article has a Church representative saying that nothing has been announced about a remodel of the Idaho Falls Temple (apparently speculation is rampant). However, he doesn't deny it either--he just reiterates that nothing has been announced, and that if it were to happen, it would come from the First Presidency. We'll have to see what happens.


This last point isn't related to historic architecture or preservation at all, but I thought it was cool--the Church held some sort of conference regarding the temple under construction in Rome, and in the background you can see what I assume are the designs of the temple interior--which apparently includes a really cool, open-centered spiral staircase.

It will be exciting to see how the Rome Temple turns out when it is completed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lindon Tithing Office

Built in 1890, the Lindon Tithing Office was recently purchased by Lindon City. The house has undergone changes, and the city is working on restoring it--although it's still trying to raise money to do so. They hope to use it for community meetings and events. See more details here and here.

The south side of the house looked to be in the worst shape. Currently, the building is still vacant--with the exception of a lot of wasps that I think are calling the building home (they were everywhere).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Malad City Second Ward Chapel: Stained Glass

This is the large window at the back of the chapel (behind the balcony).

 The stairway leading up to the balcony.

The windows lining the main floor of the chapel.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lakeview Tithing Office: Brick Detailing

Change in Blog Title; Format

This blog has somewhat evolved from what I'd first imagined when I started it. In order to reflect its content better, I have changed the title from "LDS Pioneer Architecture" to "Historic LDS Architecture & Preservation" (quite a mouthful). I will continue to post as I have been, which include four different groups:

  • Pictures of historic architecture that I've been able to visit
  • "Not Pioneer": pictures of architecture that is recent but still worth posting
  • "Preservation Update": updates on news of the preservation, changing, or razing of important LDS architecture and other related preservation issues with temples, tabernacles, chapels, and the like
  • "Preservation Thoughts": shameless opinions and justifications on future preservation in the LDS Church.
 Thanks for your support and patience as I update this blog continually. I only wish I could visit more places sooner. If anyone wants to participate in this blog by sending me photos of unique LDS architecture near you, I would be happy to post them on here. Just leave me a comment.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bonneville Ward (Provo)

Note: This post is one in a series that focuses on LDS architecture that is not historic, but that departs from standard cookie-cutter plans to become unique and beautiful in a different way. To see all of these posts, click here.

The Provo Bonneville Ward was dedicated in 1952.

(Source: Church History Library)

The motif of repeated squares is actually on all of the banisters of the building. It's a small touch, but a nice one.

The 'tower room' is actually currently the Young Women's room.

But, the Relief Society room has a nice fireplace. 

This is what it looks like from the back:

This meetinghouse actually has a scout room that includes its own stage (the signs call it "little theatre"):

What's more, the cultural hall (read: gym) is massive. One ward member told me it's the largest one in the Church. The BYU women's basketball team used it as their practice facility for many years--the area that houses stake offices used to be where they had a locker room.

Finally, the chapel itself has an interesting display of organ pipes, detailed light fixtures on the sides, and an abundance of natural light (although not at the time I visited):

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Malad City Second Ward Chapel: Interior

The most striking features of this beautiful chapel include the organ (the organist faces away from the congregation, so mirrors are attached), the sacrament table (in front of the pulpit), and the large arch over the entire rostrum.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Malad City Second Ward Chapel

This chapel in Malad City continues to serve three wards. It looked very well-preserved when I was able to visit. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

View of the original building before its addition. Source: Church History Library

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Preservation Update: Idaho Falls Temple Renovation & Murals Evaluation

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.
Scott Haskins, an art preservationist who does work for the LDS Church, reported that the murals in the Idaho Falls Temple were evaluated earlier this week (on Monday): namely, the mural of Christ teaching (a large mural visible when patrons leave the assembly hall and go up the stairs to the endowment rooms), the murals in the baptistry, and the murals in the Creation, Garden, World, and Celestial Rooms. (To see the post where I included pictures of these murals and gave my thoughts on the temple, click here.)

The temple apparently has a scheduled renovation for 2015 to 2016. The temples in Rexburg, Twin Falls, and possibly Logan would take over for the temple district until Idaho Falls reopens.

I'm always happy to see steps being taken to preserve the distinctive nature of our architecture. We'll have to see when the renovation actually happens.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Alpine Tabernacle: Curved Pew Detail

These pews remind me of the curved pews that were present in the balcony of the Provo Tabernacle. Alas, since the tabernacles in Springville, Payson, and Provo have all been demolished, the Alpine Tabernacle will have to stand as a reminder of the tabernacles that once dotted Utah County.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Preservation Predictions: Will the Mesa Arizona Temple be Restored?

Note: The 'Preservation Predictions' series examines what historic Mormon buildings may be renovated/preserved in the future. For all of the posts in this series, click here.

With the open house of the Phoenix Temple underway, only 7 months after the Gilbert Temple opened its doors, I have been thinking about the possibility of the Mesa Temple being remodeled in the next few years.

Few of the early temples of the Church have escaped major remodels and renovations that have been unfaithful to the original architecture--varying from St. George (which was converted to stationary and had a back stairway added on to the structure) to Logan (which was gutted) to Laie to Mesa. Originally, the Endowment ordinance used five rooms; now, it only needs two (or three). In response to this, most older temples were completely remodeled, and Mesa is no exception.

The temple originally had a highly symbolic floor plan. When it opened, one newspaper wrote about how its entire plan was around a grand staircase: “[the staircase] is designed to serve more than the purely utilitarian accommodation . . . It suggests the story of man from earthly birth to the regions of celestial glory, and reflects the successive stages of progression. . . . The grand stairway may be said to typify the [ever] upward pathway which terminates in celestial glory" (Bradford W. Perkinson, The Ninth Temple: A Light in the Desert: Mesa, Arizona, 1927 to 2002, Seventy-five Years, 94–95).

 (Image Source: The Trumpet Stone)

All patrons who entered not only saw the grand staircase, with the door to the Celestial Room at the top--they had a view of the baptistry, and thus could see the progression of temple ordinances. Patrons would go partway up the staircase and then turn into the Creation Room, progressing through all of the rooms before arriving at the Celestial Room at the top.

(World Room; Image Source: The Trumpet Stone)

Unfortunately, the temple was heavily remodeled in the 1970s to accommodate a stationary presentation of the endowment. Care was not taken to preserve any original elements--men working in the endowment rooms were told that the murals were not going to be used again, so they took it off in the easiest way--tearing it down in bits and pieces (Perkinson, 353). The terrestrial room became the veil room (allowing all sessions access to the celestial room); the creation, garden, and world rooms each became a stationary room. Another area of the temple was converted into a fourth endowment room, allowing sessions to begin every 30 minutes.

Before the other temples in the Mesa area were constructed, Mesa's temple district had about 75 stakes--about the size of the district of the Mount Timpanogos, Ogden, or Provo temples. Gilbert took away 28 of those stakes, and the Phoenix Temple will take away another 16, leaving Mesa with about 31 stakes in its district--a much more manageable level.

Which leads me to the question--will the Mesa Temple be remodeled? The Laie Hawaii temple was remodeled in 2010. Its wonderful renovation restored the progressive nature of the endowment. Could the same happen for Mesa?

Way back in 2011, a comment thread on The Trumpet Stone contained the following comment from an anonymous user:

"I am a contractor that does just finish work on Temples. I know the "master plan" was to fix Laie Hawaii, then Mesa Arizona, and then Logan. Hawaii was finished in 2010: At double the cost of tearing it down and building a new one. Mesa is next. Logan will be interesting, because it will be a "Re-Creation" not a restoration. See, Because of ADA compliance, they can't put in all the stairs. But they will make it what it "could have been." The project will start in 2013. Promise."

Obviously, it's easy to jump all over what someone anonymously posts in an internet thread, but I still see the remodeling of Mesa (and Logan, and St. George) as a possibility. It could be that other issues have delayed the remodeling of Mesa--for example, the Phoenix Temple was majorly delayed because of neighborhood protests, or the missionary age change could have postponed other projects as tithing funds were diverted to the swelling missionary force.

I hope that at one point most of the older temples are restored to their original architecture. Here's to hoping that a reduced temple district will allow Mesa to undergo some sort of restoration soon.

Alpine Tabernacle: Organ Detail

The pipe organ cost $11,000 to purchase and install. Because of the cost, it was not installed in the tabernacle until several years after the building's dedication.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Alpine Tabernacle: Balcony Decorative Work

The decorative work on the balcony is original, having survived every remodel and renovation.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Alpine Tabernacle: Interior

The tabernacle seats about 2,000, and is still used for events ranging from stake conferences and firesides to religious and non-religious concerts and events.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Alpine Tabernacle

Construction began in 1909, and the tabernacle was dedicated in 1914 by Joseph F. Smith.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Preservation Update: Alpine Tabernacle celebrates 100 years

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.

The Daily Herald has an article on the centennial of the Alpine Tabernacle. There will be tours of the tabernacle on October 11, and a special fireside with Julie B. Beck on October 12. The article also provides a history on the changes to the building, including the recent exterior work that has been done with the sandstone.

I visited the Alpine Tabernacle and took several photographs of the interior a month ago. I will take a break from the other posts I have waiting to focus on the Alpine Tabernacle. Here's hoping to another 100 years for this building.