Sunday, October 30, 2016

Yale Ward

Built from 1924-1925, the Yale Ward meetinghouse recently underwent an extensive renovation to preserve the building. This was significant, because the building only houses one ward.

This is the back of the stained glass window in the chapel. I will post interior pictures next.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Preservation Update: Threats to Historic Buildings

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.

Recently, three wards were discontinued in the Salt Lake Granite Stake--the Ivins, Fairmont, and Belvedere wards. This highlights a growing concern for those who love historic LDS Architecture.

The Belvedere Ward is a nice historic building--not as flashy or ornate as other buildings, but still wonderful in its own right. However, it only housed the one ward. Now that the ward is discontinued, the building has quickly been pulled from the LDS Meetinghouse Locator. What will happen to this building? Will it be used for other Church events? Will it be sold or demolished? What will happen to the Torleif Knaphus relief that is mounted at the front of the chapel? Only time will tell.

This is the problem--historically and architecturally significant LDS meetinghouses are concentrated in the Mormon corridor, in urban areas of Logan, Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City, and southern California. However, Mormon demographics (which involve a lot of young, growing families) leads to a tendency for members to move to suburban areas. This means that wards and stakes are being discontinued in places like Ogden, Salt Lake, or California.

This leads to difficult decisions. The Church only recently decided to preserve the Yale Ward, even though it houses only one ward. The Garden Park ward also houses only one ward. These places are shrinking in terms of Church membership; what will happen to these buildings if these wards are discontinued?

In Oxnard, California, two wards were discontinued near the beginning of 2016. The oldest chapel in the stake is no longer used for Sunday meetings; instead it is used for seminary and weekly activities. It has some beautiful stained glass in the chapel. How long will it be used in this manner? Will it eventually be sold? What will happen to the stained glass windows? Will they be razed with the building, like the stained glass windows in the old Tooele North Ward? Will they be sold with the building, as occurred with the Heber Second Ward? Will they be moved to a different chapel, like in the Lehi Fourth Ward? Or will they be put into storage, as happened with the Cedar City Second Ward, Salt Lake Fourteenth Ward, and many others?

(Image Source: Church History Library)
These are difficult questions that have to be answered. The fact remains: LDS church membership is declining in many places that have these historic buildings. If we lose more of our few remaining examples of exemplary architecture, we are erasing our heritage. This is unacceptable.

For now, all we can do is keep track of these buildings--whether it's the Oxnard chapel, the Belevedere chapel, or others--and hope for the best.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Seventeenth Ward: Stained Glass Details

It's been quite a while since I posted about the Seventeenth Ward chapel in Salt Lake City. Since the last post, I revisited to get some better pictures of the beautiful stained glass window at the front of the chapel.

This window is against an external wall--in fact, the window shape is visible from the chapel's exterior--but it is covered with a black backdrop, and electrical lights are used to illuminate the window. From what I can see, the Church building department is reluctant to allow natural light to illuminate stained glass windows behind the pulpit, in case it shines too brightly and makes it difficult for the congregation to view the speaker. (Stained glass windows in the LeGrande Ward and the Lehi Fourth Ward, also behind the pulpit, are lit electronically.)

This is all fine and well, but the electric lights don't live up to the window of this chapel. They take several minutes to light up, and they don't fully illuminate the window, especially at the top.

 They do a fine job of illuminating the central scene, however.

James 1:5 is found along the bottom of the window, along with the phrase, "This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him!"

There are some things I like about this window as compared to the one in the Salt Lake Second Ward, which has identical figures. The one in the Second Ward has more vibrant colors (helped by natural light) and has the unique seagull at the top; however, this window provides for a taller scene for the First Vision; allowing the Father and the Son to be much higher than Joseph. Additionally, I like the purple and blue colors that are present in this window.

It's a lovely treasure for the Church.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Brigham City Seventh 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.

I stumbled across pictures of the Brigham City Seventh Ward in the Church History Library's Database.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
 The reason I decided to check this chapel out is because of what I saw on the walls in the old photos:

(Image Source: Church History Library)
 You'll see there are decorative flowers painted on the walls!

(Image Source: Church History Library)
Any type of painting in LDS chapels is a rarity, so I headed over. Unfortunately, I discovered something.

(Image Source: Google Maps Street View)
See the portion of the building on the right side of this photo? That's the chapel. I believe that the chapel originally used to be in the portion that jutted out toward the street; now, it's just classrooms. And the new chapel does not have any small paintings. It was a bit disappointing.

However, I did find this painting in the lobby:

Not your typical meetinghouse art, and a good touch for this chapel.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ogden Seventeenth Ward: Stained Glass

Four of the original stained glass windows--two on either side of the chapel--grace this modern chapel, providing beautiful colored light. (Even better: there are no curtains, so people won't cover these windows!)

These are beautiful windows!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ogden Seventeenth Ward

The Ogden 17th Ward, located at 2873 Quincy, was built from 1925-1927.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

The chapel was later sold by the Church and is now known as the Potter's House Christian Center.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
(Image Source: Church History Library)

Now, here's where it gets a bit complicated. This building originally had 15 stained glass windows in the chapel and in a few other areas. However, at least four of the windows were moved to another LDS Church nearby:

There they are!

This raises some questions. Did the Church retain ownership of all of the original stained glass windows, or just these four? Are the others in storage, or still in the original building? This, of course, comes down to my just not having enough time (yet) to visit the original building, but I'm in the process of reaching out to them, so if I get any new details, I'll edit this post. But for now, the next post will bring some interior views of these beautiful windows.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Forest Dale Ward: Stained Glass Details

Three ornate windows are located at the back of the chapel (the front of the building), but they are surprisingly difficult to photograph. They are above the lobby. You can't see them very well in the chapel unless you're farther away (otherwise they get covered up by the clock and lobby wall). Basically, I had to stand a long ways away, zoom in all the way, and get the best pictures I could, but the quality definitely suffered as a result--I apologize!

The middle window is a beehive; the ones on the sides are sego lilies.

These are beautiful windows, and they're probably meant to be appreciated more from the outside (when the windows are illuminated from within the building) than from the inside (since you can only really see them from the rostrum, and not very well at that).

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Millcreek Ward: Stained Glass Details

Everyone makes mistakes, right? Well, months ago, I posted about the stained glass located in the old Millcreek Ward chapel. In that post, I lamented the fact that the windows, while saved and moved to a modern chapel, could not be viewed properly because they were not lit from behind.

Well, I was wrong. I had a hunch I was wrong, and so I finally got the chance this morning to revisit the chapel. Yes, the windows are lit from behind--they just were off when I visited the first time, and I couldn't find the switch.

In case you can't remember, the original Millcreek chapel had two windows--one facing outward that was added around 1910, and another facing inward that was added in the 1930s. They are virtually identical, but there are some differences.

Here is the original 1910 window, which is in the new building's south lobby:

And here is the 1930s window, in the north lobby:

There are distinct differences between the two, particularly in the colors of the glass. The older window has some coloring that is non-traditional for a stained glass setting of the good shepherd; whether this was intentional or not is unknown. Thank heavens these windows can still be enjoyed properly!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Forest Dale Ward: Interior Details

Ornamentation on the rostrum:

The sacrament table:

Molding along the chapel walls:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Forest Dale Ward: Interior

There's a lot of significant features in this chapel--stained glass, intricate moldings, and some good woodwork among them.

Of course, the most unique part is the open dome, which lets light come in from directly above.

Not a bad view.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Forest Dale Ward

Built in 1903, the Forest Dale Ward chapel is one of the most unique in the world. I love the dome that gives character to the building.

(Image Source: Church History Library) 

(Image Source: Church History Library)

The sign says 1902--I believe that's when construction started. Interior photos will be coming shortly.