Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Capitol Hill Ward: Architectural Details

This is the ceiling at the main entrance to the building:

And this is the door that leads directly into the chapel. The detailed doorknob is nearly identical to the doorknobs at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Capitol Hill Ward: Chapel Interior

The chapel is highlighted by a tall, pointed ceiling and beautiful stained glass windows, which I will show in a later post.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Blog Update/Milestone: 20,000 views, 250 posts

Hello, fellow LDS Architecture enthusiasts! Unfortunately, because of my plans this Christmas week, there will be no posts until next Sunday (December 27, where I'll pick back up with the Capitol Hill Ward). However, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has participated on this blog. Last week, the blog hit 20,000 views (and over 11,000 of those views occurred in the last 5 months alone). We also hit 250 published posts this past week, and I am working on many more.

I began this blog near the end of May 2014 as a hobby on the side. I never imagined I would be visiting as many chapels as I've visited over the past year, and I never thought that the blog would become as popular as it has (after all, historic LDS architecture seems like a very small niche). Instead, I have been able to publish hundreds of posts, enjoy tons of comments, e-mails, and questions from people who have reached out to me, learn more about the architecture in the Mormon Corridor, and even be mentioned in local news article on KSL and the Deseret News.

Since this blog started, I have finished my undergraduate degree, graduated, accepted a full-time job, published a paper on LDS tabernacles, and started another paper on LDS architecture.

Since I won't be able to publish any posts this week, here are some of the stories behind my visits to buildings published on this blog. This is only a small sample of what it's like for me to do my research and document these buildings. I run this blog only because I love these buildings, and want to be able to share them with as many people as possible. Do you have questions, comments, or just want to talk about LDS Architecture? Feel free to send me a message (on the right side of this blog in the web version) or comment on a post.

I convinced members of my family to stop here on the way home from a vacation. I didn't expect the building to be open, but found that some people were in the building for other business. After happily taking several pictures, we all piled back in the car--which didn't start. My family members had to wait in this chapel for 3 hours while I got the car towed to a local auto shop and they finally got it running again (it needed a new battery). My family loved this chapel, but 3 hours at the end of vacation is a long time to spend anywhere!


I drove to this chapel several times in hopes of being able to get pictures of the interior. Every time, it was closed, which was incredibly frustrating to me. I often wondered if it was really worth it to get pictures of the inside, but something about this chapel kept drawing me back. I finally was able to get inside and capture pictures of the simple, yet beautiful, interior, and publish a post on it. Sure, it took a year, but it was worth it!

This was one of the first historic buildings I visited. I ran over while on a break from other business, and the tour guides, upon hearing that I enjoy playing the organ, had me play for a local group of tourists that was visiting the building. It was an amazing building to visit, but playing the organ there is something I'll never be able to top.

 I literally stumbled on this chapel. I was visiting other chapels in the area, took a few wrong turns, and suddenly this building, with its stained glass, arched roof, and carvings, was before me. It was an awesome surprise, and makes me wonder how many other less famous (but still amazing) buildings are to be found across the country.

Long-time readers of the blog will know that I followed the Manti Tabernacle's recent renovation quite faithfully. The Manti Tabernacle was the first historic building I explored just for the benefit of enjoying an older building. It played a big role in sparking my interest in LDS Architecture. I visited it on the first week of its renovation, kept coming back over the next year, and finally toured it again during its recent open house. I have a real soft spot for this building.

 Over the course of this blog, my interest has really grown in LDS stained glass. This was one of the first buildings I visited that had a stained glass window. It took me months of detective work to find pictures of the building when illuminated (which you can see in the original post). Now, I've been able to discover the history of this stained glass--it was donated by a local widow, and moved to this new building--and this window may be one of my favorite in the Church. Christ, with his haloed head and outstretched hands, above the words, "Come Unto Me."

That's what all of these beautiful buildings proclaim: "Come Unto Christ."

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Capitol Hill Ward

Constructed in 1928-29, the Capitol Hill Ward (in north Salt Lake City) is mostly known for its distinctive roof.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

The building is open for tours every Wednesday and Saturday from May to October. It has some beautiful architectural elements that I will highlight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Logan Eleventh Ward

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.

Today's Modern Architecture entry comes from the Logan 11th Ward, which had some elements I liked. Some simple colored glass is present throughout the building, which creates a unifying feel to the whole structure, especially because it's at the front of the chapel.

 (Image Source: Church History Library)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Eighth Ward (Salt Lake): Stained Glass & Paintings Detail

The windows lining the chapel are almost exactly the same.

At the front of the chapel is the painting titled The Straight and Narrow Way, designed and donated by John M. Chamberlain, a choir director from the Eighth Ward who wrote the hymn, "We Are Marching on to Glory."

It pictures Christ leading the way on the straight and narrow path (which symbolically leads to Temple Square, as you can see below). Also pictured are those falling from the path, humble disciples who follow Christ, and some wandering off to a dark landscape in the back.

The other painting is a large image of Daniel in the Lion's Den.

Finally, here are some close shots of the stained glass above the north entrance:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Eighth Ward (Salt Lake): Chapel Interior

The chapel has beautiful stained glass windows along both sides. I will show pictures of these in a future post. There is also a cry room at the back.

 The rostrum and pulpit are beautifully arranged. There are a couple of unique paintings in here, too, which I will also show.

There's a lot of things I like about this chapel--the paintings and stained glass, the designs on the ceiling and around the rostrum, and the curved pews on the stand.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Eighth Ward (Salt Lake): Entryway

 Upon entering the north doors, you can see that the doors have lead and stained glass in them.

There is a staircase that takes you up to the chapel. If you continue up the stairs, there are some classrooms that have the stained glass above the door.

A future post will show the chapel interior, and have close-ups of all of the stained glass and paintings.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Those Who've Gone Before: Manti North Ward

This series honors LDS Architecture that is no longer standing. To see all the posts in this series, click here.

Light filters into the old Manti North Ward building (located a few blocks north of where the Manti Tabernacle now stands) through a glass dome above the rostrum:

 (Source: Church History Library)
The chapel was every bit as beautiful as the Manti Tabernacle, even though it was built years later (dedicated November 5, 1911). A huge stained glass window with a quatrefoil motif at the top graced the east end.

 (Source: Church History Library)

In later years, the glass dome suffered from vandalism, the east stained glass window was boarded up, and the Church decided to build a new chapel instead of keeping the old one. Many people worked tirelessly to try to save the building, and for a number of years it was used to house the preparations for the Manti Pageant. Eventually, though, the building came down in the 1980s.

 (Source: Church History Library)

I figured that the stained glass window was saved, because for some time, it was in the hands of the Manti Destiny Committee, who planned to dedicated a heritage center (with gardens) that would feature the beautiful window. That was 15 years ago. The heritage gardens were  made and dedicated, but the building was never erected.

I did some poking around to find the location of the window. A helpful blog reader reached out to me and confirmed that the window was in the hands of a local non-profit committee. I reached out to several contacts to try to find the location of the window, and after making some calls around, I spoke with a member from Manti who has been paying a storage fee every month for years for the window. (It's a big window, and takes up a lot of boxes--too much to keep in a garage! This member has literally spent hundreds of dollars on this window!) She graciously sent me pictures of the window, the only color ones I can find:

As you can tell, this window is breathtaking. The member who is paying for its storage, and the non-profit organization, are trying to find a use for it--several possibilities have come in the past, but none of them have materialized. I sincerely hope we can find a way to repair and reassemble this window so that it can be enjoyed in the future by members and non-members alike.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eighth Ward (Salt Lake)

Built in 1921, the Eighth Ward has changed very little from when it was first built.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

It is one of the best examples of the Prairie style of architecture that is still standing.

Interior pictures of this chapel will be coming soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A History of LDS Tabernacles: Part 9 - The Future of Tabernacles

Note: This is the final post in a series on the history of the preservation and destruction of LDS Tabernacles. To see a full list of the posts in this series, click here.

For a Google Map that lists all of the tabernacles and their locations, click here.

Today, there are 39 tabernacles (of the original 77 on Richard Jackson's list) that are still standing. The Church owns 26 of them. Are these tabernacles safe? Will they still be standing in 20, 50, or 100 years?

Stained glass in the Garland Tabernacle (Image Source)

In another post, I discussed the Church's list of protected structures. 20 tabernacles are on that list (although that likely includes Provo, and perhaps Vernal, which are now temples). See that post for more information.

Definitely, then, some tabernacles are unprotected. Some may be torn down--most likely, the smaller, less grand, and (in the eyes of administration) less significant structures that  dot the landscape. The tabernacle in Snowflake may not have much to offer against the tabernacle in Kaysville, but does that mean it will be torn down? Only time will tell.

Paintings on the walls of the Manti Tabernacle

Certainly, the fire that burned down the Provo Tabernacle in 2010 is a reminder that any of our buildings can be claimed by a disaster. It has been encouraging to see the Church's response, as it has lovingly rebuilt the structure as a temple, even though it is much more expensive to do that than built a whole new structure.

Chapel in the Granite Stake Tabernacle

Other tabernacles' futures remain uncertain. The tabernacle in Wellsville is still closed as the Wellsville Foundation heroically struggles to raise the money needed to repair the roof and re-open the building. The tabernacle in Smithfield recently underwent a comprehensive study determining the future use of the building. The report concluded that it would likely cost over a million dollars to renovate the structure, regardless of the future use. Since it is owned by the city, the city council will have to decide the building's fate.

Even when their future is uncertain, tabernacles continue to stand across the Mormon corridor, symbols of the faith, works, and struggles found in Mormonism's history. Groups meet for religious and cultural events; they continue to gather into the buildings. Light continues to stream in through the stained glass windows in Kaysville's tabernacle; tourists continue to admire the woodwork in Paris, Idaho's tabernacle; the sounds of the organ in Salt Lake's tabernacle are broadcast to the nation every week in Music & the Spoken Word.

Light shines in through the stained glass of the Kaysville Tabernacle

I feel blessed to visit so many of these buildings. And as I ascend the spiral staircases in St. George, admire the bas-relief in Manti, or play the organ in Brigham City, I am reminded of the poem that was written by pioneers who built the St. George tabernacle and tucked underneath the sandstone steps, only to be found 75 years later:

...We have labored long
For many a year,
This noble structure
For to rear;

And thus we’ve often
Lacked for bread,
“You’ve nobly worked”;
By all was said....

So now kind friends
We say farewell,
This house and steps
Our works do tell,

God will preserve
And bless his own
With life eternal
And a crown.

Spiral staircase in the St. George Tabernacle

Poem written by Charles L. Walker; see Michael N. Landon, "“A Shrine to the Whole Church”: The History of the St. George Tabernacle," Mormon Historical Studies 12, issue 1 (Mar 2011), 125.