Sunday, December 10, 2017

Takaroa (French Polynesia) Branch

I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a really beautiful little chapel located on the island of Takaroa in French Polynesia. The atoll that includes the island has about 882 people. A Church News article in 1991 noted that 68% of the people on Takaroa were members of the Church, so it is a center of strength for Mormonism.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

The chapel for the Takaroa Branch was built in 1891. The walls were constructed using large blocks of coral that were bound together with a cement made out of smaller coral stones. Wood was used to frame the vaulted windows (which have stained glass) and doors.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

A lot of the pictures from the Church History Library appear to be taken when the building was in a state of disrepair. A cyclone in 1906 destroyed virtually everything on the island except the chapel. Other cyclones in 1982 and 1983 also destroyed many buildings, but the chapel remains.

(Image Source: Mormon Newsroom)

The chapel looks in great condition today. Excepting the Gadfield Elm chapel (in Great Britain), it may be the oldest chapel outside of the United States. It's a lovely piece of Mormon Architecture, in what many would consider to be an unlikely place!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Salina First Ward

 The Salina First Ward Meetinghouse was built in 1935.

The building isn't particularly ornate or unique, considering the time period and location in which it was built, but it's still a lovely little building with some nice details. It's also remained fairly unchanged during its decades of use.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Parowan Third Ward: Stained Glass Detail

One of the most striking aspects of the Parowan Third Ward is the set of stained glass windows that run along both sides of the chapel.

This stained glass may not be the most detailed example of Latter-day Saint windows in the prairie style (for another example, see the Salt Lake 8th Ward), but they are a lovely fit for this building.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Parowan Third Ward: Chapel Interior

It may have taken me three and a half years since I first documented this building, but I was finally able to photograph the interior of the chapel.

Rows of stained glass line both sides of the chapel. A decent-sized balcony is at the back.

You can enter the balcony through the small lobby on the west side--technically the main entrance of the building.

The front of the chapel is very nicely done, as well.

By comparing this with an earlier photo, we can see there have been some changes--the chairs on the stand and the pews look newer, and some remodeling has been done to the rostrum. It looks like a cry room has been blocked off.

The podium matches the prairie style of the building. It's a great little chapel.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Midway 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.

Midway, Utah (west of Heber) used to have some more unique chapels. However, this chapel, located near the center of town, had some nice variations on the standard Church floor plan that I liked. Midway is known for its Swiss heritage (and it holds a Swiss Days festival every year), and this chapel has some nice modifications to fit with that theme.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Enterprise Ward (1913)

Built to replace its aging predecessor to the north, this Enterprise Ward chapel was built in 1913.

It was used until 1957, when an even newer (and the currently used) chapel was built to its south.

The Church still owns this building as well. Its current use is uncertain, but it looks fairly well maintained. I poked my head in, and you can see that its main room is a cultural hall.

This is a wonderful block of buildings in Enterprise.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Enterprise Ward (1898)

Enterprise, Utah (in the southwest corner of the state, north of Mountain Meadows--population, around 1,700) has a central block of the town that has all of its chapels. Instead of tearing them down, they would just build a new one next to the old one. It's really nice to see the central block preserved as the ecclesiastical center for the town.

Image Source: Washington County Historical Society
This meetinghouse was built in 1898, when only seven families were in the town. It was used as the church and school until 1913, when a newer chapel was built to its south.

The building was used by the Relief Society in Enterprise from 1913 until 1953 (when an even newer meetinghouse was built on the southeast corner of the block). The building was used as an office for a bit, but it began to fall into repair. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers met in 1959 and was granted use of the building by the Church, in return for their caring for the building. It is still owned by the Church, but it now houses a museum for the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

It's been kept up fairly well, and it's been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Richfield First Ward: Stained Glass Details

The real centerpiece of the Richfield First Ward is its beautiful stained glass window. This window is so magnificent that it once graced a cover of the Ensign magazine:

Unfortunately, since the sale of the building, the window is suffering, and it's pretty obvious.

There are several concerns. The window is not protected with any kind of barrier--it's exposed to the elements; any thing that hits the window could shatter the sensitive glass.

Over time, the lead the holds the panels together can soften and become loose, allowing panels to fall or become askew. This happens to all stained glass windows; they need maintenance and upkeep.

As you can see, a closer look is even more discouraging. Panels have fallen out and are wedged at the bottom of the window, where they fell. Other panels are still in place, but are crooked or about to fall. Grime is present along most of the edges of the lead. The lead itself is clearly loose in several places.

Of course, the main question becomes: who's to blame? It might be a little bit of everyone's fault. In conversations with the owner, it's clear that it was never clearly established who was in charge of the window. Some felt that it was indicated that the Church would do this and still have ownership of the window; others have pointed the fingers at the owners. No one is sure who's in charge, so the window suffers. I really hope that this window can be preserved--it is one of the loveliest examples of Latter-day Saint stained glass in the Mormon corridor.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Richfield First Ward

Built in 1906, the Richfield First Ward has some lovely architectural elements, especially its gothic windows (one of which is stained glass) and corner tower.

(Image Source: Church History Library)

The building to its east was probably built around the same time, if not a bit earlier. They are now connected with an addition.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
 The building was sold sometime around 1980. It now serves as a reception and events center called Knightsbridge Hall. It also houses a photography studio. In the future, we'll look more into the status of the stained glass in this chapel.