Thursday, January 28, 2016

Whittier Ward: Bas-relief Detail


I was very surprised (and happy!) to find a relief sculpture of this kind in an LDS chapel--not only to have it be at the front (with the pulpit moved to the side), but to see the use of an electric lightbulb in the corner to add to the scene (in this case, representing divine light). I'm so glad that it's here, and that it continues to be used!



And, of course, it was done by Torleif Knaphus.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Whittier Ward: Interior

This is a pretty great entrance for a building! The chapel and cultural hall are on the upper floor; classrooms are on the lower floor. I'll post close-ups of the mural in a future post.


Still, the chapel gets even better. There is a bas-relief of the First Vision at the front of the chapel that uses light. The pulpit is even off-center, leaving it open for the entire congregation to see. It's lovely, and I'll highlight it with close pictures in a post as well.


Finally, you've got the beautiful stained glass at the back. Look for pictures of that as well--like I said, there's a lot to highlight!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Whittier Ward

The Whittier Ward in Salt Lake City looks fairly unassuming on the outside, but it has a lot of features I really like. It will be our focus for the next few posts. The amusement hall (on the right) was built in the 1920s; the chapel (on the left) came later in 1936. The window on the front of the chapel is a beautiful stained glass window that we'll also highlight.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Farmington Ward: Primary Memorial Chapel

To my dismay, members of the ward were showing up very early for their sacrament meeting, which ruined my chances of getting good photos of the chapel.


The beautiful mural at the front was painted by Lynn Fausett. It was formally presented to the ward on August 24, 1941. It includes depictions of Job Welling, Sarah E. Richards, Rhoda Richards, Lousia Haight, Helen Miller, Bishop Hess, Clara Leonard, and Aurelia Rogers--all involved in the first primary meeting.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Farmington Ward

With construction beginning in 1861 and the main chapel completed in 1863, the Farmington Ward Rock Chapel is one of the oldest buildings in the church.

(Image Source: Church History Library)


Obviously, the original rock chapel has had many additions over the years. The Primary Organization first began in this chapel in 1878, so it's named the "Primary Memorial Chapel." Look for interior pictures in my next post!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ephraim South Ward

I stumbled across this gem in Ephraim the other day. It was originally known as the Ephraim South Ward chapel. I really struggled to get a picture without those power cords in the way.


Here's what it looked like before its additions, including the usual steeple. Looks like they had trouble with the power poles, too.

(Image Source: Church History Library) 


It looks like it was built in the 1930s or so. The thing is, it's not currently housing any wards or stakes (at least, if LDS Maps is correct). Instead, it houses a family history center and employment resource center. That's fine, but it does make me worry about its future. It doesn't look like it's been majorly remodeled--in other words, the chapel is still a chapel--so how long will a large, historic building like this be used for those two functions? It's something I'll have to keep an eye on.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Heber Second Ward: Stained Glass Details

As mentioned in my previous posts, the large stained glass window is original to the building. It is breathtaking:

(Image Provided by St. Lawrence Catholic Church)
The windows on the east and west were made after the Catholic Church had purchased the building.

(Image Source)
The cross in the middle of the large window is not original; it was added when the Church was purchased. The original centerpiece depicted the sego lily, but when the building was sold, this centerpiece was removed and given to Heber City. It now hangs in a room in city hall (the old tabernacle).

(Image Provided by the City of Heber)
I'm glad that the window has been preserved well by the St. Lawrence congregation, and that the original center piece was also saved. This window is among the most stunning produced by the LDS Church.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Heber Second Ward: Exterior Details


These stained glass windows are among the few that were made by the LDS Church, including the largest one.


I will show the interior photos of this window, and explain the cross in the center, in my next post.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Heber Second Ward

Built from 1913 to 1915, the Heber 2nd Ward Chapel is mostly unchanged from when it was originally built (notice the perfectly placed electricity pole in the first photo, which blocks one side of the tower):

(Image Source: Church History Library) 


In the 1960s, the church was sold to the Catholic church, and it's still in use today.

There are some beautiful stained glass windows on this building that I will be highlighting. The windows on the north side (left side, in this picture) of the building, including the largest one, were made by the LDS Church when (or shortly after) the chapel was built. The blue windows on the east and west sides were installed by the Catholic Church after they purchased the building.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Clarkston Ward: Interior

The bottom floor contains the classrooms and other facilities for the building; the chapel itself is on the second floor.


You'll notice that it's a very uncommon architectural arrangement. The chapel is basically square, with the pulpit located in one corner. All of the pews curve in a large semi-circle toward the pulpit. On the north wall is an alcove for the choir seats.





A large balcony spans the south and east walls of the room, accessible by staircases on either corner.





It's almost impossible to see the pulpit if you're not in the first few rows of the balcony. It's a little odd.


I really like this chapel for how unique it is and I appreciate that its layout has been preserved so well. For how unique this chapel is, it's almost unknown in most architectural circles. The only LDS building I can think of with a similar layout is the Wellsville Tabernacle or the Montpelier Tabernacle. I wish the stained glass could be replaced, but that's the only major change I'd make.


On a final note, I'm fairly certain that this room (on the second floor) used to serve as the prayer circle room for the Clarkston area, until that practice was discontinued. The windows here would have been stained glass, as well.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Clarkston Ward

Clarkston, Utah is such a beautiful little town, tucked in the northwest corner of Cache Valley. It's claim to fame is Martin Harris' grave, as this is where he lived for the last months of his life. 

They also have a unique chapel. Built to replace their old rock meetinghouse, it was dedicated in 1913. It has changed quite a bit over the years.

Chapel in the 1920s (Image Source: Church History Library)
Image Source: Church History Library
The major changes include additions (obviously needed), the arched window getting cut down and replaced with regular glass (as opposed to the stained glass), and the removal of some other decorative elements.

I visited this ward building on a cold winter morning when the thermometer read -4 degrees Fahrenheit.




Interior pictures will be coming in the next post!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Preservation Update: The Journey of the Provo City Center Temple (Provo Tabernacle)

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 Provo City Center Temple, formerly the Provo Tabernacle, is all but complete. Tickets for the open house (which runs from January 15 to March 5) will become available tomorrow (January 4) at this site.

(Provo City Center Temple Celestial Room; Image Source)
The journey that this building has taken is long. Only a couple of months after the tabernacle was burned in a December 2010 fire, it was decided that the tabernacle would be rebuilt as it had stood. Some changes were to be made--a full basement, a larger rostrum--but drafts were apparently completed. In the summer of 2011, those plans were put on hold when the First Presidency decided to rebuild the tabernacle as a temple. It was officially announced in the October 2011 General Conference of the Church. [1]

(Image Source)

Originally, the temple was to employ the four-room progressive style (Creation, Garden, World, Terrestrial, and Celestial rooms) in the endowment.[2] However, it was later modified so that it will be a two-stage progressive style--there are two telestial rooms on the east end of the main floor, and one terrestrial and celestial room on the second floor. (Less time is spent in the terrestrial and celestial rooms.) Patrons will go up the spiral staircases in the east towers in the middle of the session to get to the next room. The second floor also has at least five sealing rooms.

(Image Source)
The "lobby" in the center of the building is the Celestial Room. It has stained glass on both sides, but these are just interior walls. 

Here is an image of the large sealing room on the west end (the left side of the floor plan above). It is the largest one. 

(Image Source)
The Church has really done a good job with this temple--not only making such a small floor plan functional, but also bringing in historical elements. For example, the tabernacle's pulpit was saved and is in the temple's chapel.

(Image Source)
Original wall decorations that were covered in subsequent renovations were uncovered by the fire; they were reproduced in the temple's bride room.

(Image Source)
The temple may be new, for all purposes (except for the exterior walls), but the Church has been meticulous in keeping it historical, as well, with all of these details.

What lessons can we learn from this temple? Well, one (in connection with this blog) is the importance of documenting historical buildings. One of the people who worked on creating the plans for the temple noted that the tabernacle "was not fully documented: no original architectural plans survived...Some rooms had never even been photographed." She later concluded, "Important historic buildings should be fully documented...At minimum this should include floor plans and elevations, photographs of every room, and written descriptions of significant spaces." [3] It's almost unthinkable that a building as well-known as the tabernacle in Provo was never fully documented and photographed; what does that mean for tabernacles in far-flung towns (like Randolph or Garland) or small, yet still significant chapels that dot the Mormon Corridor? We need to document and photograph these buildings!

Again, the open house for this temple will begin in a couple of weeks, and tickets for the most convenient times (evenings & weekends) will be going fast, so be sure to get your tickets ASAP.

[2] See https://www.lds.org/church/news/provo-city-center-temple-teaches-lesson-on-conversion. The author notes that "When receiving certain ordinances in the temple, patrons will progress through multiple rooms before passing into the celestial room. Only a handful of temples employ this “progressive” style." 
[3] See the link in footnote 1 for these quotes.