Sunday, March 26, 2017

Latter-day Stained Glass: Part 8 – Destroying and Saving Historic Stained Glass

Note: This is a part of a series on the history of the use of stained glass in LDS meetinghouses. To see a full list of the posts in this series, click here.

 Certainly, the removal or replacement of stained glass is not limited to the LDS Church; historians have noted that in the past, even famous cathedrals and churches have had their original windows destroyed and replaced. The LDS Church tended to follow national trends in preservation, and this is reflected in its history with stained glass. This was also reflected in what would be the biggest threat to stained glass windows: when the buildings around them decayed and were in need of repair. Like other churches and organizations, the LDS Church struggled to balance preservation with modern architectural trends and financial realities. If historic chapels were not saved, difficult decisions had to be made regarding the fate of the stained glass. The result was a confusing array of decisions that has scattered the Church’s panels among a variety of locations and uses.

In some cases, the windows were demolished along with the building; this occurred with the Tooele North Ward:

Tooele North Ward (Image Source: Church History Library)

As we have noted in previous entries, the stained glass could be removed long before the building was threatened. The windows of the Salt Lake 29th Ward were removed 30 years before the building was sold; the building still stands, with cement filling in for the windows.

Salt Lake 29th Ward

The Park City Ward used to have a beautiful stained glass window which included the icon of a handshake; when the building was sold, the window was sold to a separate owner, and now its current location is unknown.

Park City Ward; now Blue Church Lodge

This is, most unfortunately, the case for many stained glass windows. When a time came for a remodel, some windows were removed because they were either deemed unnecessary or because they were in need of repairs that were considered unfeasible. No records were kept on what happened to the stained glass--was it thrown away? Did someone buy or take the stained glass and keep it in their personal storage? Without records, we don't know what has happened to windows such as those of the Clarkston Ward. The building still stands; the stained glass has been gone for quite a while.

Clarkston Ward at mid-century (Image Source: Church History Library)

Clarkston Ward

In many cases, when buildings were sold, the stained glass was sold right along with it. Stained glass in the Heber Second Ward, Logan Sixth Ward, Provo Fourth Ward, Washington D.C. Ward, and many other chapels are no longer in possession of the Church.

Logan Sixth Ward

Logan Sixth Ward Windows

The state of these windows largely depends on the new owner. The Ogden Sixth Ward still has its windows, but the building is in major disrepair, as are the windows. Several years ago, the plans were to remodel this building into a reception center. So far, no progress has been made.

Ogden Sixth Ward Windows

Strangely enough, in many cases, the Church would sell the building but keep the stained glass. moving it into other chapels. The Coalville Tabernacle, Salt Lake 17th Ward, Salt Lake 21st Ward, and many other buildings have stained glass that was saved and now stands in modern chapels. Why was the glass sometimes sold and sometimes kept? There was no firm policy on what to do with stained glass; as a result, there is no pattern. It's confusing and frustrating.

Coalville Stake Center, holding the stained glass from the original Coalville Tabernacle
Modern SLC Twenty-first Ward chapel, housing historic stained glass

The Richfield First Ward was sold to a local business owner, but there was confusion about who was to care for the window. This beautiful window has no protection (such as a clear pane that acts as a barrier), and some of its colored panels are held in place using packing tape. Based on my conversations, this isn't the fault of the current owner; it's the result of a confusing arrangement where it's not clear who is supposed to take care of the window. 

Richfield First Ward (Image Source: Google Maps)

In other cases where the glass is sold, the windows can be moved or modified. The windows in the Pleasant Grove Second Ward were purchased, along with the building, by the Heritage Academy. When the academy later moved to a newer building, they took the stained glass with them.

Pleasant Grove Second Ward (Image Source: Church History Library)

Similarly, the window in the Heber Second Ward is magnificent. The Catholic Church, after purchasing the window, carefully removed the center pane (which featured a sego lily) and gave it to the Heber City Government. They replaced it with a pane depicting the cross. The sego lily pane still hangs in city hall.

Heber Second Ward Window (Image Courtesy of Saint Lawrence Church)

Heber Second Ward Original Center Pane

In some cases, citizens have had to step forward to save these beautiful windows. When the Eighteenth Ward chapel was going to be razed, a local member, Chris Fonnesbeck, purchased the windows (including the stained glass window), pulpit, and steeple. He and his friends "carefully chiseled the large windows out of their frames". Meanwhile, his mother, LaRae Fonnesbeck, was able to help raise the funds to rebuild the chapel near the State Capitol Building as the White Chapel. The stained glass window remains there today.

White Chapel Interior

In some cases, the strong reaction from members is what saved a window from destruction. When members in Farmington, New Mexico were told during a chapel renovation that their stained glass was going to be removed, they reacted forcefully. The building department faced such an uprising from the members that they decided to leave the window.

Not every case is resolved; the future of some windows is uncertain. When the Manti North Ward was torn down, the building's large stained glass window was saved by a local heritage group. They carefully removed the panes, boxed them up, and stored them--and they remain in storage, until the group can find a future use for them.

Manti North Ward Windows; image courtesy of Shannon Miller
Next week: Modern Uses of Historic Stained Glass

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Garden Park Ward: Chapel Interior

The building's main lobby is just past the entrance. On the right is the chapel; glass allows members to view and hear the services from here.

The chapel itself is lovely. The ceiling is pastel blue; simple stained glass windows line the walls, and there is a nice pipe organ (behind the screen).

The chapel also has individual seating instead of pews--a particularly rare feature for an LDS chapel. We'll look closer at the seats, windows, and paintings in my next post.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Garden Park Ward

Built in 1938-39, the Garden Park Ward is unique because of its large and spacious grounds, which includes the Red Butte Creek. Members of the ward and stake often hold wedding receptions here.

Even without the grounds, the chapel itself is quite unique and has some really beautiful features. We'll be examining this building over the next few posts.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Latter-day Stained Glass: Part 7 - The Decline of Stained Glass

Note: This is a part of a series on the history of the use of stained glass in LDS meetinghouses. To see a full list of the posts in this series, click here.

One of the reasons that stained glass was so common in the 1920s was because of a different philosophy when it came to building LDS chapels. Richard Jackson, in his volume Places of Worship, notes that "...after [World War I], the buildings took on a grandiose style and were larger than their predecessors...Ward leaders as well as architects appeared to be trying to outdo each other in their designs. This imposed a hardship for the individual wards in two directions: the larger buildings cost more, and the fees for the plans were correspondingly higher" (175). Certainly, this led to some marvelous buildings, but the cost, the oncoming Great Depression, and other factors demanded a change in philosophy. While wise, this philosophy was not kind to stained glass.

The LeGrande Ward, built in 1914, is a beautiful example of the use of stained glass.
What were these factors? For one, the combining financial pressures, coupled with the onset of the Great Depression, greatly reduced a ward's ability to install fine stained glass in their chapels. Wards had to be much more frugal in the use of their funds. As a result, this blog's registry of stained glass dropped from 20 examples in the 1920s to only 6 in the 1930s.

The styles of stained glass during the 1930s still varied, but the effects of the depression become evident. One building that escaped the frugality that would set in later during the decade was the Ogden Fourth Ward. It is considered one of the finest buildings in the Church today, and recently was carefully preserved. Had this building been constructed even a few years later, it may not have looked this grand.

Ogden Fourth Ward

Ogden Fourth Ward Window

Another stellar example is the Washington D.C. Ward, although it may have been considered an exception because of its placement in the nation's capitol. Not only did the building have beautiful stained glass surrounding Mormon-centric themes; it also was capped by an Angel Moroni.

Washington D.C. Ward Windows (Image Source)

The Springville Fourth Ward was able to muster up enough funds to install some nice windows in their chapel, as well.

Springville Fourth Ward Chapel

Still, the trend is clear--stained glass windows became less common. The few examples we do have from the 1930s show a reduction in their use. The Pleasant Grove Second Ward, for example, met in a rather standard brick chapel, they purchased only two windows for their building--one to hang over the door, and another at the front of the chapel. The rest of the windows were plain, standard glass.

Pleasant Grove Second Ward, Transom Window

The Alhambra Ward in California was able to install a window of Christ, but that was after painstaking efforts on the part of the Young Women to raise enough funds for the window.

Alhambra Ward Window (Image Source)

The Whittier Ward purchased one set of windows to stand at the back of their chapel. Even the Casper Wyoming Ward was able to purchase one window for their chapel, depicting the Book of Mormon. These were the only stained glass windows to stand in their buildings, a contrast to earlier years, when stained glass could line the walls of the chapel.

Whittier Ward Windows

Still, in terms of stained glass, the end of the Great Depression (and World War II) did not see a return to the heights achieved in the early 1900s. This was partly because styles had changed; the boom of Gothic, Victorian, and Prairie styles was on the decline. This was also due to the growing use of standard plans. 

The creation of a Church Architectural Department first started in 1921. Its purpose was to help wards in obtaining buildings. The intent was to develop all meetinghouse plans in this department--Willard Young wrote that "the First Presidency has recently given instructions that the plans for all ward buildings to be erected in the future, shall, as far as possible, be prepared in this office..." (Jackson, Places of Worship, 176). This didn't happen at first--it was too large of a project to take on at once, but the department immediately began preparing different building plans for the Church. Originally, department employees did not develop standard plans for worldwide or nationwide use; they carefully developed specific plans they had made for a specific ward or stake. But by 1933, they were only making typical floor plans that other architects could use: "in this way a measure of control was exerted in limiting buildings to a specific size as well as as floor plan arrangement." (Jackson, 197). 

Local architects were nervous; the growth of standard plans could take away much of their work. Still, by 1946, a Church Building Committee was formed, mandating that new buildings stick to floor plans and sizes. This included the requirement "that the chapel had to overflow into the amusement hall and the amusement hall had to be of sufficient dimension that basketball could be played there" (Jackson, 215). By 1954, the Church Building Department started providing specific building plans; by 1959, it had reached full swing. With only a few exceptions, Mormon architecture was now standardized, and stained glass was not a part of it.

This didn't result in the end of stained glass, but it nearly did. Only 3 registry examples are from the 1940s. One was the San Bernardino Ward in California. Wards that were further away from Church headquarters were often able to find a bit more freedom in their floor plans, and the San Bernardino Ward, with its window of the First Vision, is one notable example.

San Bernardino Ward Window

The Provo Park Ward was able to put in a simple stained glass window at the front of their chapel, but other than that, it met most of the basic floor plan requirements.

Provo Park Ward

Provo Park Ward Window

The Bonneville Ward also is a fairly standard building, with a few unique features, including their stained glass window of Christ at the front of their chapel.

Bonneville Ward Window

In the 1950s, only a few windows were installed. The Wards in La Canada (California) and Farmington (New Mexico) were able to have windows installed, probably in part because of their distance from church headquarters. 

Farmington New Mexico Ward Window

The ward in Weston, Idaho also put in a stained glass window of Christ, mostly because of the desire of the local Bishop, Bishop Tingey. That stained glass window, although purchased at a huge discount, may have contributed to the arguments between the Bishop and other leaders. One leader "thought the Weston building was way too big and elaborate." Bishop Tingey refused to budge with the plans, saying, "I told him Weston wanted the building we had planned and felt very good about it. He asked Brother Anderson [the architect] why would Weston want that building, small town and so forth. Brother Anderson said maybe we would like to attract some tourists" (Jay D. Schvaneveldt, History of Weston, Idaho, 437-8). They got to keep their plans.

Weston Idaho Ward Building

Weston Idaho Ward Chapel

With these few exceptions in the 1950s, stained glass was mostly gone from LDS chapels. The one exception may be the Fairfield, California stake, which prepared a rose window arrangement of stained glass in anticipation of moving into another denomination's building. When the plans fell through, they were still allowed to hang their stained glass, which is much more modern in its style, at the front of the chapel.
Fairfield California Stake Window

Certainly, exceptions exist, and later examples of stained glass may be found in LDS meetinghouses. But by and large, stained glass had faded from Mormon architecture. The next question arose: what to do with the stained glass that was already there?

Next week: Destroying and Saving Historic Stained Glass

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Liberty (Idaho) 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.

Liberty, Idaho is a small rural community located northwest of Bear Lake. It originally had a beautiful little chapel:

(Image Source: Church History Library)
 In 1958, this new chapel was built next door, and the original chapel was soon demolished.

(Image Source: Church History Library)
While modern, this chapel has some great characteristics. The most noticeable is the rounded front. This was not originally part of the building (see the photo above), but was likely added to expand the chapel. It houses the rostrum (choir seats and podium).

The chapel and cultural hall have a tall, pointed roof.

Also stunning is the building's cultural hall. It is taller than the rest of the building, and windows on either end provide some stunning views.

There aren't walls that divide the cultural hall from the hallways on either side; it is completely open. It's a unique, artistic little mid-century building.