Just a few blocks down from the original Murray First Ward Building is the new chapel that was built in the 1960s. The stained glass was transferred to that building.
Besides the major stained glass at the front of the chapel, there is also glass on many of the doors. These also came from the original building. These are the doors to the chapel:
But I was very surprised when I entered the chapel itself:
I was under the impression that the stained glass would be visible at the front of the chapel, but it's not. There's no way to see the stained glass from the inside. This is a real shame, because the window is really beautiful. In the words of Joyce Janetski, "[The] large pipe organ, though impressive, has cost the ward more than money; the members have sacrificed a great percentage of their inheritance...where much is given, surprisingly little is really expected; this congregation seems to have gone to great lengths to hide the beauty of the old Murray Ward's stained glass" (A History, Analysis, and Registry of Mormon Architectural Art Glass in Utah).
I have since been able to visit the chapel at night, when the window is lit from behind. Those pictures will be posted shortly.
As mentioned in an earlier post, the organ was not originally part of the building. Apparently, there was a chapel with a similar floor plan in Arizona that had this organ, so when that building was demolished, the ward leaders arranged to purchase it and move it here--seeing as it fits perfectly in the arch at the front of the chapel. It's a lovely addition.
The Murray First Ward Chapel was completed in 1907.
(Image Source: Church History Library)
It was sold in the 1960s, and now houses the Mount Vernon Academy.
The school still uses the building, including the original Recreation Hall, which is connected to the east side.
Of course, the biggest change visible in the pictures is the absence of the large stained glass window at the front. According to the Church website, it was a window depiction of Christ beckoning "Come Unto Me." Fortunately, the glass was preserved and moved to the new chapel built down the street. I'll have pictures of that chapel in my next post.
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 is reporting that the Minerva Teichert murals that were originally removed from the Montpelier Tabernacle during its renovation have been replaced. You can find the blog post here. Here is the video he posted:
It includes some nice views of the tabernacle, and the renovation looks like it's finishing up. From my understanding, it's used as a community center and probably for stake conferences, more than anything else. I love the semi-circular design.
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 Utah Central Stake Center is a normal Church building, which is why this is labeled as a "Modern Architecture" post.
(Source: Google Maps)
However, it does has a stunning organ, named the "Opus 16." It was made by the Bigelow & Company organ builders.
This is the view from the organ itself:
I found a brief history on the organ. In late 1985 the Church contracted the Bigelow Company for an organ that was "patterned after the type that Johann Sebastian Bach played."
Its purpose was to "serve the musical needs of the Church, enhance the cultural life of the community, and continue the Church's pioneer legacy of providing beauty for future generations."
You'll notice that across the top of the organ are the words "Glory to God in the Highest."
The organist faces away from the congregations, so the two little squares open to reveal mirrors so that they can see the conductor.
Directly above the keyboard is the inscription, "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart... D&C 25:12."
This organ is a true pipe organ. The organist pulls a small lever that forces wind through the pipes. I played it for a bit, and it feels very different from an electronic organ, which is all I've ever played up to this point.
The organ history stated that "by 1995, organists from 38 states and 14 foreign countries had visited the organ because of its uniqueness in an LDS meeting house." I'm glad the Church went out of its way to get this organ. It really adds a lot to the spirit of the chapel.
I found this photo of the dedication of the First Ward Chapel in 1939 by Heber J. Grant, as well as what the chapel looked like originally:
(Source: BYU Archives)
(Source: BYU Archives)
Here's what it looks like currently:
As you can tell, the organ was added later. Unfortunately, as with the lobby, the walls and ceiling have lost most of their decorative details.
I'm a fan of the balcony, tiny as it is. It's also not easily accessible if someone were to, say, pass the sacrament up there. They would have to exit the chapel, cross the lobby, go up the curved staircase, go back toward the second floor of the lobby, and enter the balcony--all for four pews of people.
I am glad that most of the carvings remain on the walls.