Sunday, December 28, 2014

Preservation Predictions: Which Temples, Tabernacles, and Meetinghouses are Safe?

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.

It's no secret that some of the Church's most elegant architecture has been destroyed because of a variety of reasons. While this has improved drastically in recent years, the destruction of historic buildings in Paradise, Teasdale, Parowan, or Cedar City in the past few years still suggests that historic architecture in the Church can still be threatened. (This is beside the point, but one member posted a walk through of the Cedar City chapel before it was demolished, and the stained glass in the chapel was lovely).

But there are a few building that are definitely safe--58, to be exact. These are buildings that will likely never be sold or destroyed, and the a Church archivist stated that "We're exceptionally careful not to remove important architectural [or] historical elements." The list includes 20 tabernacles, 10 temples, 23 meetinghouses, and 5 other buildings. The article only states that the Granite Tabernacle is on the list. What other buildings are likely on the list? I tried to list the ones I thought were most likely below.

Temples (10)

Ones I'm fairly certain are on the list:
(Image Source: Mormon Newsroom)
  1. St. George Utah (drastically renovated in the past, but I assume this list was created only recently, so future renovations will likely be more sensitive to the original architecture. This assumption applies to other renovated temples below)
  2. Logan Utah
  3. Manti Utah
  4. Salt Lake Utah
  5. Laie Hawaii (renovated in 2010; progression restored)
  6. Cardston Alberta
  7. Mesa Arizona
  8. Idaho Falls Idaho (to be renovated in 2015-16)
Possible ones for the remaining 2 slots:
  • Los Angeles California (It's a landmark temple, has huge murals, and even has a priesthood assembly hall)
  • Washington D.C.
  • Nauvoo Illinois (It's not the original, but maybe it's on the list to make sure it adheres as closely as possible to its original architecture)
  • San Diego California (Also a landmark)
  • Vernal Utah (Because of its historic roots)
Tabernacles (20)

This one is particularly difficult, because the definition of "tabernacle" varies, and estimates on the number of tabernacles built range from about 50 to over 100. I use Richard Jackson's fairly reliable list.

Ones I'm fairly certain are on the list:
(Image Source)
  1. Salt Lake
  2. Assembly Hall
  3. Kaysville
  4. Bountiful
  5. Provo (at the time the article was written, the Provo Tabernacle had not burned down)
  6. St. George
  7. Logan
  8. Manti
  9. Paris, ID
  10. Brigham City
  11. Granite Stake (article confirms this)
Possible ones for the remaining 9 slots:
  • Morgan
  • Richfield
  • Star Valley (Afton, WY)
  • Loa (renovated in 1983)
  • Garland (renovated in 2000)
  • Randolph (renovated in 1984)
  • Alpine (renovated in 1996)
  • Hollywood (Los Angeles, CA; renovated in 2003)
  • Honolulu
  • Ogden (renovated in 2014)
  • Malad City, ID
  • Montpelier, ID (currently being renovated)
I don't want any of the ones on the 'possible' list to be torn down; but that's 3 too many. That's not even counting many other tabernacles that I just assumed have a low chance of being on the list (Snowflake, AZ; Blanding; etc.). So at least some of these tabernacles are still unprotected.

Meetinghouses (23)

This one is particularly hard, because of the sheer number of historic meetinghouses. However, I can guess some of them:

Ones I'm fairly certain are on the list:
(Detail from Brigham City 3rd Ward)
  1. Spring City Ward
  2. Ogden 4th Ward (renovated 2011-12)
  3. Cedar City 1st Ward (renovated 2011-12)
  4. Logan 1st Ward
  5. Logan 4th Ward
  6. Farmington Ward (Primary Association organized there)
  7. Brigham City 3rd Ward (historic First Vision stained glass)
  8. Salt Lake Second Ward (historic First Vision stained glass)
  9. Salt Lake Eighth Ward
  10. Salt Lake Tenth Ward
  11. Salt Lake Liberty Ward
  12. Bonneville Ward (SLC)
  13. Garden Park Ward (SLC; renovated 2008)
  14. Manavu Ward (Provo)
  15. Wells Ward (SLC)
  16. Yale Ward (recently renovated)
  17. Forest Dale Ward (SLC)
Manavu Ward Chapel
 Possible ones for the remaining 6 slots:
  • Centerville 1st Ward 
  • Idaho Falls 5th Ward
  • Blackfoot 1st Ward
  • University of Utah Ward
  • Whittier Ward
  • Beaver Ward
  • Tremonton 1st Ward
  • Timpanogos Ward (Orem)
  • Parowan 3rd Ward
  • Salt Lake 27th Ward
  • Salt Lake 20th Ward
Again, because of the number of unique meetinghouses, I'm sure there are many more that could be on this list. This one is the most worrisome--even with this tiny list that I came up with, there are at least 3 that are unprotected.

Other Buildings (5)

The article simply lists that 5 "other buildings are on the list."

Buildings likely on the list:
  1. Colonia Juarez Stake Academy (Academia Juarez, a high school in Mexico)
  2. Maeser Building (BYU Campus; recently renovated)
  3. Heber J. Grant Building (BYU Campus)
  4. Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly the Hotel Utah)
  5. Church Administration Building
Other possible buildings:
  •   Brimhall Building (BYU Campus) 
This one is difficult. I'm not sure if I've left out any other significant structures that don't fall under the category of meetinghouses, tabernacles, or temples.

I'm glad that this list has been created. I hope that in the future, it can be expanded so that more buildings can have that special protection.

1 comment:

  1. One hint is to look at the National Register of Historic Places, since those buildings are protected by the federal government. The owner usually initiates the application, and always has veto power over being listed, and the Church appears to be reticent to add a lot of its buildings (probably because it doesn't want to lose control over their fate). While dozens of former meetinghouses are listed (by the subsequent owners who want the benefits of a listing), only 16 operational Church-owned buildings are listed in the NRHP:
    - Temple Square (including the temple, tabernacle, and assembly hall) are a National Historic Landmark
    - Temples: Logan, Manti, Provo City Center, St. George
    - Tabernacles: Logan, St. George, Brigham City, Bountiful, Randolph, Paris
    - Meetinghouses: Pine Valley, Malad 2nd Ward, Sugar House (aka Westminster Institute)

    Randolph and Sugar House are a pleasant surprise, but the rest make perfect sense. I would be extremely surprised if these 16 were not part of the 58.