provo tabernacle

Drawing of Provo Tabernacle in Salt Lake Tribune 18 Apr 1898

Often called the Utah Stake Tabernacle, or the New Provo Tabernacle, this building was first contemplated on the day of dedication for the Old Provo Tabernacle in 1867. (Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning, page 71)

“Brigham Young…commented that the original tabernacle should have been completed twelve years earlier as originally planned. He stated that it ‘was entirely too small.’ It proved so small that he asked those in the morning session of conference to assemble outside for the afternoon meeting, so all could attend and hear the dedicatory service.” (Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning, note 64, page 162-63)

Old Provo Tabernacle (Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection)

This request, however, would not be acted upon until 1882 when the Stake Presidency asked for and received approval from the First Presidency to proceed on the new larger building. The architect for the new project was to be William H. Folsom, who was living in Manti while working on the new temple there. Church leaders in Provo asked him to pattern the tabernacle after the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, which was designed by Obed Taylor, whom Folsom had formed a partnership with in 1875 and designed the ZCMI cast-iron façade. As a result, the plans of the two buildings were similar (including a near identical interior to the Assembly Hall), but with an equal number of bays on each side of the transept arms. Shallow pilasters were used instead of wall buttresses. And taking a cue from the Manti temple being worked on, large octagonal corner stair towers were added to the tabernacle. As a result of this, “the gallery could be reached from the outside, freeing the vestibule entrance for those who wished to be seated on the sloping main floor.” (Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning, page 72-73) Four LDS tabernacles were to be built with a large center spire and smaller spires surrounding. They were the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, Coalville Tabernacle, New Provo Tabernacle, and the Malad Tabernacle. Of these, only the Assembly Hall remains standing.

Of Folsom’s abilities as an architect, Laurel B. Andrew stated, “Without question, William Harrison Folsom was the most sophisticated architect working for the Mormons. Even more than Logan, the Manti temple demonstrates the provincial architect’s adeptness and originality in working with a unique form and in an outmoded style, both of which he reconciled with contemporary ideas to produce an imposing and truly monumental building.” (The Early Temples of the Mormons, page 177)

At a quarterly conference of Utah Stake held in Provo City, September 1st and 2d, 1882, H.H. Cluff, J.P.R. Johnson and J.C. Snyder were appointed a building committee. Some material was collected upon the ground during the fall, such as rock, brick and lumber. During the summer of 1883, the walls were run up to the square and covered for protection during winter storms. (The Daily Enquirer 06 Jan 1888 vol. 12 no. 2)

04 Aug 1885
Construction of the Tabernacle moved along in 1885, and the stake leaders began to visualize early use of the building. At bishops’ meeting, August 4, President Cluff said it had been decided to hold memorial services for General Ulysses S. Grant in the building on August 8. The eighteenth president of the United States had died July 23. Two thousand people assembled on temporary seats in the Tabernacle, which had neither a permanent floor nor doors or windows at that time. The galleries were draped in black… (Places of Worship, page 121)

04 Dec 1885
Stake authorities decided to complete and dedicate the 24 by 30 foot “west room” in the new Tabernacle for priesthood and auxiliary use – even though the building as a whole was a long way from completion. The dedicatory services, [were] held December 4, 1885. (Places of Worship, page 122)

06 Apr 1886
“A little more than a fortnight ago when definite information was received by the residents of Provo that the semi annual conference of the Latter-day Saints would be held within her gates, it found the Tabernacle – the only suitable building for so large a worshipping assembly – in a very incomplete condition, and wholly unsuitable for occupancy. Another people would have been discouraged at the enormity of the labor necessary to make ready for the occasion, but with that characteristic pluck which has built their theatre, their court house, their central school, their bank, the Territorial insane asylum, and other noble public and private edifices, Provo accepted the inevitable with a smile of satisfaction, put on her war-paint, and said the thing could be done. Within that interval of time it may be readily imagined a vast amount of work has been performed, a large force of men being continuously engaged. All the doors and windows have been made and put in place, the entrances temporarily arranged, the panels work in front of the galleries partially completed…”

The building is designed as a Tabernacle for the Utah stake, and its construction has been aided by contributions from all parts of the county, though Provo is entitled to much the greatest need of praise. The estimated cost of the building, when completed, is $75,000, of which $50,000 has been already expended. The ground plan is 156 feet in length by eighty-eight feet in width. This structure, like the other prominent buildings of Provo, is of substantial brick, upon a foundation of solid masonry, the rock work extending as high as the ground and a six foot course of brick above to the water table. This brick work between the rock and the water table will ultimately be plastered with cement and laid off in imitation of rock work. The building is in the shape of a parallelogram, and may be said to resemble in form the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, though about twenty feet longer and ten feet wider than the building. At each of the four corners is an octagon tower, terminating in a spire eighty eight feet in height from the ground, and on the centre of the building a more pretentious one, the spire of which terminates skyward a distance of 168 feet. A promenade around this central tower affords a grand view of Utah Lake and surrounding country. The building may be said to be peculiar in respect to its entrances, of which there are seven (with a vestibule at each), four to the galleries and three main entrances to the auditorium. Besides these there is an entrance at the west end leading to the stands, etc. The peculiarity is that the gallery and main entrances are separate and distinct, each being entirely free from contact with any other and having a perfect communication with the outside. It is understood that Mr. W.H. Folsom, the architect, claims that this portion of the plan was revealed to him in a vision, and as the arrangement is altogether novel and a great improvement over similar edifices throughout the Territory, there is no reason for discrediting his somewhat startling assertion. The auditorium is 126 feet long and sixty four feet wide; from floor to ceiling the measurement is forty feet; the floor has a gentle slope from the west end, where the stands (three in number) are located, to the east end, where the floor is six feet above the grade. West and back of the three stairs is the allotted space for the choir, and back of that is a recess 12 by 20 feet, designed for an organ. A large gallery, 18 feet from the floor, encircles the interior, except at the west end. The gallery at the sides has a depth of 18 feet, with five rises or rows of seats; and at the east end, a depth of 30 feet, with nine rows of seats. The building is capable of seating 3,000 souls. Mr. Harvey H. Cluff, locally celebrated for his ability as a builder and contractor, particularly on account of his success in constructing the Provo Theatre, has directed the work from foundation to pinnacle. Altogether the building is a singularly commodious and convenient one, and one well adapted to the wants of the progressive people whom it is intended to accommodate. (Daily Enquirer 06 Apr 1886 vol. 10 no. 28)

“There is no part in the city that seems to be so busy as the Tabernacle block. About one hundred men are faithfully laboring, clearing up the debris, graveling the side walks, and putting the block into a very neat appearance, while on the inside, under the superintendency of brother James O. Snyder, the carpenters are pushing the work necessary to be done so that the visitors to Conference may be comfortably seated. It is an assured fact that everything possible is being done to make things pleasant for those who attend the general Conference. Nearly all the windows are put in giving the immense structure an improved and otherwise pleasing aspect. The doors before Saturday will be hung so that the eight heating stoves can be placed in to warm up the building. The seating capacity will be about 4,000.” (Daily Enquirer 26 Mar 1886 vol. 10 no. 25)

Because of polygamy raids, none of the members of the First Presidency attended the General Conference in the Provo Tabernacle. Instead, “An Epistle of the First Presidency” was read to the congregation and then published in the newspaper in its entirety.

Deseret News 06 Apr 1886

09 Jun 1886
Our Tabernacle is nearing completion. The painters are taking down the scaffolding on the outside, and Brother Samuel Liddiard, and a corps of men, are plastering the inside. (Deseret News 09 Jun 1886)

06 Jan 1888 – Utah Stake Tabernacle
The whole building covers an area of 160 feet, extending east and west by 88 feet in width, with four octagon corners. The brick walls of these octagon corners extend one story above the roof and each support a tower 88 feet high from the ground. The center tower is supported by the roof on three main trusses, and is 140 feet high from the ground. The main entrance is at the east end, but there are spacious entrances through a vestibule at each side of the building and two door-ways in the west end, thus providing for good ingress and egress. Another commendable feature is connected with this structure, that is the entrances to and from the galleries, which is by a circular flight of stairs at each octagon corner and entirely independent from the body of the building.

The auditorium is 126×64 feet, with raised seats extending from the front stand to the east end of the building. There are three stands ranging one above the other, and in the rear of these stands will be the organ and seating capacity for a large choir. There is one gallery extending on both sides and one end, making a seating capacity for 3,000 persons. The entire cost of the building, when finished, including organ and heating furnace, will be about $100,000. (The Daily Enquirer 06 Jan 1888 vol. 12 no. 2)

03 Jun 1888 – The Utah Stake Quarterly Conference – Sunday Forenoon
President A. O. Smoot called the morning session to order at 10 o’clock, President Isaac Bullock opening with prayer. President Jacob Gates directed his opening remarks to the Seventies of the Stake, urging them to complete the new Stake Tabernacle. The Lord and our leaders, the speaker remarked, have a right to expect the best of work from the seven hundred Seventies of the Utah Stake of Zion. The Presidents of the Seventies were asked to take the matter in hand. The speaker then referred to the privileges of the Latter-day Saints. “We can afford to forego the pleasures of this life for such blessings.” Wished the Seventies to show that those who chose them to that calling were not mistaken.

President A. O. Smoot felt under obligations to President Gates for his reasonings with the Saints. While at Manti lately he had been pleased to hear the report of the donation by the Saints of the Sanpete Stake of a quarter of a million of dollars. Besides this people of Manti have built a fine Tabernacle. Moreover, the wealth of the Stake has been increased not much short of fifty percent. I felt sorrowful to think of our condition. Here is our Stake Tabernacle, stopped and in debt, and we are unable to go on with it. In my opinion, the fault does not lie with the people, but with the authorities. The speaker wished it known that he was decidedly opposed to the late granting of liquor licenses in Provo. The City Council went advisedly and directly against the view of the Stake Presidency and the High Council.

Notes. The two sessions of Sunday were literally crowded, the aisles being occupied by seats. Surely the Tabernacle is needed. (Deseret News 04 Jun 1888)

31 Aug 1888
At length the new Tabernacle for this Stake is so far completed as to permit of the holding of Quarterly Conference tomorrow and Sunday. This will be good news to Conference visitors who, to secure a seat, have previously either had to almost remain in the meeting-house after Sunday forenoon’s services, or else run the risk. The new Tabernacle will accommodate the large influx of people who will attend the coming Conference, and everybody will be enabled to obtain a seat without any risk. Another great feature of the new building, and one which will be greatly appreciated at this season of the year, is its complete facilities for ventilation. The building can thus be made perfectly cool and comfortable.

By the time the next Stake Conference approaches, the Tabernacle will have received other finishing touches. It is the determination of the Stake Presidency and the Building Committee to lose no time or effort in rushing the building to completion. (Daily Enquirer 31 Aug 1888 vol. 12 no. 69)

Pipes from early Provo Tabernacle Organ preserved at Pioneer Village. Grand May Day Festival in the Utah Stake Tabernacle, at Provo, May 1st, 1889, in aid of the Stake Tabernacle Organ Fund. Admit One. General Admission, 25 Cents. (Courtesy, L.Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.)

At the age of 75, architect William Folsom was arrested for bigamy and fined by the court. He sold his house in Manti to pay the fine. (Find A Grave memorial)

21 Mar 1890 – Utah Stake Tabernacle
This magnificent building is located in the central part of Provo City, on the south-east corner of the Tabernacle block fronting Main Street. It has been erected at a cost of seventy-five thousand, by the Latter-day Saints of Utah stake, as a suitable building in which to hold their stake conferences or other meetings of a general character where much room is required.

The building is by no means a small one, its dimensions being 158 foot long, 130 feet wide and 160 feet high to the pinnacle of the main tower, the general architecture of the structure thus combining space with beauty, neatness of design, comfort and convenience.

To a person standing at the base of this grand edifice, it has indeed an imposing appearance. Its huge brick walls with porticoed entrances, its broad buttresses and its octagon towers at each corner surmounted by conical turrets whose apexes, towering toward heaven all remind a person, but for the elegant architectural work, of the huge oriental castle of medaeval times and the person can imagine himself carried back eight centuries on the wings of time and gazing upon some noted feudal lord’s stronghold where kings and armies with all their war implements of that date, cannot molest him.

There are entrances on all sides of the building, the main ones however, wing from the rear end and sides, where large double doors open through beautiful hood-mouldings to the portal entrances, which are immediately connected with the large hall. Besides these there are spiral stairways in each of the octagon corners, which lead directly from the exterior to the spacious gallery which is beautifully ornamented and supported by twenty-six strong iron pillars.

The room which is illumined by a flood of light from forty large groind windows, is high and well ventilated, the ceiling being dotted with ventilators which are nicely ornimented with plaster of paris.

By the floor being gently raised from the rostrum to the rear end of the room, the audience is materially aided both in seeing and hearing, and a person quite enjoys sitting on the comfortable rounded benches which is very different from the state of affairs in the old adjacent tabernacle where the straight backed seats cause a person to think, after sitting there for an hour and a half, that he has been resting his weary limbs for some time past, on the rock of Gibralter; and, from the manner in which the cruel bench cleaves to him he would also infer that the rock had been highly magnatized.

The necessary appliances for heating the room have not, as yet, been arranged, the building being at present in an unfinished condition; but it is the intention of those who have the matter in charge, to have it warmed throughout by steam.

At the base of the central tower, which surmounts the roof, is a small veranda, where, with an open window near the top of the tower, reached with difficulty by spiral stairways, ladders, etc., the people resort for sight-seeing as the view afforded from the window, of the city and surrounding country, is the finest that can be obtained in this locality. The dwelling houses far below you look as though they might be the habitations of the Dwarfs in Central Africa, and, as you sit there meditating thus suspended between heaven and earth, you become enraptured with the awe and grandure of the secene from the Provo Tabernacle. B.Y. Student. (The Daily Enquirer 21 Mar 1890 vol. 14 no. 24)

Utah Stake Tabernacle (Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection)

07 May 1891 – The Tabernacle Lighted
Last night were seen the luminous jets of the electric lighting of the new Utah Stake Tabernacle, which for the first time sent brilliant rays through the sombre spires of the magnificent structure. The work and cost of lighting has been under the auspices of the Y.M.M.I.A.

One hundred and fifty dollars is the approximate cost of fitting in the 64 incandescent lights which are distributed at intervals around the cornice of the first balcony, and over the Grand stand, where will be seated the chorus, and over them a groupe of ten lights and the same in the centre and at the east end of the gallery. While the initial lighting took place last night the first grand rehearsal for the May Festival was held, which indeed made the air ring with musical enthusiasm. There has from the first been great interest taken by all of the choirs from settlements and the local ward choirs.

The lighting is a special feature for the Festival on the 16th where three hundred and fifty voices and an orchestra of twenty five pieces will render the musical climax of the Garden city. This is only a commencement of musical festivals and now that the laudable step has been taken by the Young Men’s association, others will follow by putting in the heating and organ. (The Daily Enquirer 07 May 1891 vol. 3 no. 133)

16 Jun 1891
Our large Tabernacle will be crowded on Thursday evening to witness a great musical performance…Mme. Carrington and company will sing “My old Kentuckey home” as one of her popular numbers…Don’t forget to buy your tickets at once for the great musical festival in the Tabernacle on Thursday night…Provo did herself proud in securing such a large company of eminent artists to join our own popular singers in a grand festival…The renowned Abbie Carrington will appear at the Utah Stake Tabernacle on Thursday night in grand concert with our most talented local artists. The great inflamatus at the Festival on Thursday evening by our choir and Mme. Carrington as soloist will itself be worth double the price of admission…It was a good idea for the manager of the Festival to have the Carrington company arrange a popular programme with selections that all can understand and enjoy…Reserved seats for the grand festival are selling rapidly. A large number have already been sold. Center floor only 50cts., centre gallery only 75cts., general admission 25cts. on sides. These prices are extremely low, considering that this company charges three dollars per ticket in the east. (The Daily Enquirer 16 Jun 1891 vol. 3 no. 166)

Abbie Carrington. The season of 1890-91, the most successful and extended of her career, was a tour of the Pacific coast and British Columbia which included a performance at the Provo Tabernacle. (A Woman of the Century)

04 Apr 1892 – Tabernacle Concert and A Puff of Smoke.
The concert at the Tabernacle on Friday evening was a musical feast to all those who were fortunate enough to be present. The building was literally packed with lovers of music. The choir marched to their seats from the gallery, while the children entered from below, followed by the Military band and Mandolin club.

Miss Dora Davis’s piano solo was being listened to with wrapt attention when a gust of wind caused a volume of smoke to issue from the stove door; some one hallowed fire, which caused the large audience to rise and hundreds rushed for the doors. Judge Jones jumped on the stand and explained the situation, and Professor Giles immediately gave the signal and the chorus and band started on the ‘Anvil Chorus,’ which was cheered and applauded from beginning to end, and had the effect of calming the audience.

The selection by the boys’ class was ruined by a second puff of smoke, causing another stampede, and this time the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ was given as a pacifier.

Notwithstanding the difficulties under which the performers were placed, they kept the entertainment going and did not permit it to lag a moment. Our visitors were loud in their praise of Provo’s musical talent. The concert that we have had recently gives us an idea what to expect when our Tabernacle is completed, the stand arranged so that the singers can be seated properly, and an organ that will give our organist an opportunity to perform some of his favorite class of music. (Daily Enquirer 04 Apr 1892 vol. 5 no. 104)

19 Apr 1892 – Stake Tabernacle – Statement of Its Financial Conditions
The following letter from the Tabernacle building committee was read Sunday morning April 17th in the Quarterly Stake Conference.

Brethren and Sisters,
The committee on Tabernacle, who have had charge of the building and who have labored long and faithfully to bring it so near completion, through change of circumstances have resigned their positions, and the undersigned, your brethren, having been appointed to succeed them at a general priesthood meeting, together with the bishops of various wards to act as agents in the matter, we would most respectfully and earnestly entreat the hearty co-operation of all in doing what is in their power to assist us in the completion of this much needed edifice of worship for the saints of this Stake of Zion.

We are fully aware of the stringency of the times, but also bear in mind that under circumstances of private and extreme difficulty some of the noblest works of the saints have been accomplished, and that corresponding blessings have followed their efforts. In view of these facts, and being called upon by authorities of the stake, we feel a degree of assurance in calling upon the saints for renewal assistance in the work before us.

The Heating Apparatus, the completion of the stand, and a suitable organ, together with certain appropriate decorations are what is needed for the interior. And we are of the opinion that the opportionment already made to the various wards will be sufficient to complete the work.

It will require considerable cash to obtain the commodities needful for the building, at the same time your committee will use every effort in their power to utilize the products of the country, and considerable merchandise, grain, beef, stock, etc., can be made available.

We also wish to announce that Bishop J.P.R. Johnson has been appointed to superintend the work in building, under the direction of your committee, and that Brother J.W. Bean will act as secretary and treasurer, he being authorized to receive and receipt for all funds on Tabernacle account and to disburse the same, as per order of the superintended, counter-signed by the committee.

It is also the intention of your committee to have presented a statement of the receipts from each ward and from any other source, together with an account of all disbursements of each quarterly Conference. Hoping to receive a hearty response to this important duty,

We remain, Your Brethren,
S.S. Jones, J.E. Daniels, V.L. Halliday, Wm. K. Robinson, Henry Gardner, Committee.
(Daily Enquirer 19 Apr 1892 vol. 5 no. 117)

17 Mar 1894 – Sousa’s Concert at the Tabernacle.
A large audience greeted the Sousa band in the Tabernacle yesterday afternoon. The fact of the entertainment taking place in the afternoon kept some people away who would have given their last dollar to be there. Many lawyers, merchants and clerks were kept at the grindstone, and could only hear the bugle call which was given on the outside of the building. At 2 o’clock promptly the leader raised his baton, and from that moment until the final clash of Wagner’s ‘Lohengien’ the vast audience was swayed by all the emotions to which the soul is heir. (Daily Enquirer 17 Mar 1894 vol. 9 no. 89)

07 Mar 1895 – President Smoot’s funeral
The funeral services of President A.O. Smoot will be held in the Utah Stake Tabernacle at 11 a.m. Sunday next. The body will lay in state, in the Tabernacle, from 9 a.m. till 11 a.m., and the public will have the opportunity of viewing the remains. The members of all the quorums of the priesthood in this stake are kindly invited to attend, and the public in general. (Daily Enquirer 07 Mar 1895 vol. 11 no. 80)

04 Jan 1896
The tabernacle was the scene of one of the valley’s biggest celebrations to mark the granting of statehood to Utah. (Places of Worship, page 122)

Provo Tabernacle – South side of Tabernacle looking from south to north (National Register of Historic Places Application)

17 Apr 1898 – The New Provo Tabernacle Dedicated
A vast assembly attended the dedicatory services of the Utah stake Tabernacle this morning. George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith of the First Presidency, Apostles John Henry Smith and Heber J. Grant were in attendance. Prior to the dedicatory prayer by President Cannon, President Reed Smoot gave a descriptive account of the work of completing the Tabernacle, and speaking in the highest terms, thanked all who so generously contributed either money or labor to the same.

The dedicatory prayer was by President Cannon and was pronounced amidst the greatest possible attention. Every entrance to the building was crowded, and crowds thronged the corridors. It was by far the largest audience ever assembled in the house.

Ground for the erection of this now magnificent building was first broken in the fall of 1881, and the work was completed Friday evening, when the body of men who have been engaged drew away and admired the work accomplished in the past two months. Progress at the ????tion of the Tabernacle was necessarily slow, owing to lack of funds. It is remembered that even in 1886, when the general conference of the church was held at this place, there were no seats in the gallery, and the entire building was very incomplete.

The “finishing touches,” as the late improvements might be termed, have been watched with great interest, especially by the older residents, who have anxiously contemplated the completion of the building from its commencement, and they at last behold with gladdened eyes the change from the former comparatively barren place of worship.

The elegant and costly improvements made upon both the interior and exterior of the Tabernacle have placed it equally alongside the very finest ecclesiastical houses of the State. The transformation is not only one of elegance, but everything connected with the work has been made profoundly substantial.

The general appearance of the building and grounds has been remarkably improved. On the interior a heavy ingrain paper covers the upper part of the walls while a wainscoting of ? ? ? made a six-foot border, upward from the floor. The ceiling has been ?paneled magnificently. All the woodwork is grained oak, and by Utah county artists, who feel justly proud of the work.

An assignment of upholstered opera chairs has been purchased for the choir and substituted for the plain seats formerly used. Probably the most attractive subjects upon entering the room are the three chandeliers presented by the Provo woolen mills employees. They were purchased at a cost of more than $200, and each is made for the holding of twenty-four incandescent lights. Besides there in the chandeliers, which hang from the ceiling, a row of incandescents placed at intervals of five feet completely encircles the gallery balustrade.

Artist Fairbanks is engaged in the painting of two subjects, “The Ascension of Christ” and “Joseph Smith’s First Vision.” The pictures will be 8×10 feet in size and will adorn the space over the corner doors in the west end of the house.

Improvements on the exterior are very numerous, the most noticeable being the quarried stone balustrade in place of the old iron railings on the steps of the entrances. The estimated cost of the improvements is ?? The greater part of this amount has been raised by popular subscription, and the people of the county generally, regardless of creed, have contributed to the fund. (Salt Lake Tribune 18 Apr 1898)

Provo Tabernacle ca. 1900. Also shown is the old Meeting House, or Old Provo Tabernacle. (Courtesy, L.Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.) Between 1886 and 1893 quarterly conferences were held in the Old and New Tabernacle, apparently depending, in part, upon the condition of the new building. Time of year also seemed to have a bearing. Winter sessions consistently were held in the old building until after the boiler and steam heating system were completed in 1893. (Places of Worship, page 122)

18 Apr 1898 – Dedication of the Tabernacle Brings Out Many People
No quarterly Stake conference ever held in Provo has been so largely attended as the one held Saturday and Sunday. This was no doubt owing to the fact that the tabernacle was to be dedicated. Of the leading authorities who were present were Presidents Cannon and Smith, and Elders John Henry Smith and Heber J. Grant of the quorum of Apostles, Dr. Karl G. Maeser, the members of the Stake presidency, members of the High Council and the Bishops of the various wards.

Sunday forenoon the attendance was unusually large; it is estimated that about 4,000 people attended the services, many of them remaining standing all the time. Presidents Partridge and Smoot gave a report of the efforts to finish the building, mentioning the great liberality which had been exhibited by all who were asked to contribute in various ways either in cash or labor, some of whom were not members of the Church.

The dedicatory prayer was then offered by President George Q. Cannon. President Joseph F. Smith then addressed the congregation. He spoke of the good work that had been accomplished by the people in finishing the house, and expressed great pleasure in the reports given by Presidents Partridge and Smoot of the generosity and kindly feeling that had been exhibited. (Deseret News 18 Apr 1898)

Architect William Harrison Folsom

19 Mar 1901 – Death of Architect William H. Folsom
In the demise of Patriarch W. H. Folsom, Utah loses one of her oldtime and most worthy citizens. He was identified with many of the finest structures in the State as their architect and builder, and was respected by all classes of the community….His excellent qualities of mind and heart endeared him to a host of friends, and his material works stand as monuments to his skill and accuracy in both design and execution. (Find A Grave memorial) His skill and energy are expressed in the most sacred and enduring edifices of Utah, and for all time his name will be held in love by many and in honor by all. (Deseret News 20 Mar 1901)

Chicago Symphony ticket found underneath the main floor of the tabernacle by maintenance personnel. (

18 Jan 1902 – Garden City Notes
The Chicago Sympony orchestra with its forty performers and, in addition several soloists of the highest rank will appear in the Tabernacle, Wednesday, the 29th. Special rates will be given by the railroads for the occasion. (Deseret News 18 Jan 1902)

24 Aug 1907 – New Organ in Provo Tabernacle
The above cut shows the $10,000 organ just placed in the Utah Stake tabernacle at Provo. The organ built by the Austin Organ company of Hartford, Connecticut, and is considered by experts one of the best. (Deseret News 24 Aug 1907)

25 Aug 1907 – New Pipe Organ Provo’s Pride
The initial concert given in the Provo tabernacle since the installation of the new pipe organ was attended by a large audience Friday evening. The organ under manipulation of Professor C. W. Reid proved to be a wonderful instrument, fully up to the expectation of the most critical. The vocal selections by the choir and the soloists were of the usual high standard. (Salt Lake Herald 26 Aug 1907)

US President William Howard Taft in Provo Tabernacle

24 Sep 1909 – US President speaks in Provo Tabernacle
The reception of the President at Provo was the chief feature of the day. The train arrived at 12:45, and then came to an automobile ride through the city and to Temple hill, and then back to the Provo tabernacle where the President spoke for nearly thirty minutes, and then shook hands with nearly 2,000 of his ‘friends,’ as he called them. (Salt Lake Herald 25 Sep 1909)

Between 1909 and 1911
The organ was enlarged. (Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning, page 73)

Interior of Provo Tabernacle ca. 1910

06 Mar 1917 – To Repair Tabernacle
The Provo tabernacle of the Mormon church is to be remodeled and provided with a new roof this spring. Announcement to that effect was made here by Joseph B. Keeler, president of the Utah stake. (Salt Lake Telegram 06 Mar 1917)

Frosted glass was replaced with stained glass when the crossing tower was removed and the ceiling reconfigured. The original chandeliers were removed at the same time. (Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning, page 73)

A number of significant changes were made to the Provo Tabernacle in 1917. The most noticeable was the elimination of the crossing-tower. Its removal, because of structural inadequacies (causing the roof to sag), significantly altered the appearance and visual cohesion of the building. Moreover, it eliminated one of the most popular attractions in town, as people were able to get a commanding view of Utah Valley from its promenade. The removal of the tower led to a reconfiguration of the ceiling and the replacement of the original frosted- for stained glass windows. The addition of the new windows softened the interior through the presence of ambient light. (

03 Jul 1917 – Old Meeting House to be Torn Down
The Provo meeting house is to be torn down, as it has been decided that it has outlived its usefulness – that it is out of date. Not that the building is weakened by the years no?? decay, except so far as neglect and the ravages of change and improvement of the last few years have made it shabby and dismantled it of its antique fixtures. It was gutted some years ago, when it was thought it might do for a gymnasium, but it was not used for that purpose very long.

The building was finished in 1867. It was several years building because the people were poor, but the work was not slighted, and with the usual care it would outlast most of the buildings that have since been built. When it was completed it was the finest house of worship in the territory. It is said to be practically a reproduction of a church attended by President Brigham Young in the East. The pulpit was built by Thomas Allman and was a beautiful piece of woodwork, worthy of preservation for that reason alone. The painting of the wooden pillows which supported the gallery and the painting of other parts of the interior was done by James Gledhill and to the last retained a hardness and luster as of polished hardwood. These men, and probably all who worked on the building, wrought with love and pride and not for a day or a day’s reward, and it is perhaps well that they are not here to see the light esteem in which their work is held as a memorial to the toll and sacrifice, the noble planning and the honest execution of the pioneers.

Apart from the sentiment attached to the wood and stone, which form this monument to the faith and works of a past generation, there are memories still left of the spirit of the old house – echoes of burning eloquence and kindly counsel, exhortation and simple faith, and songs of praise and thanksgiving – and they cannot be torn down. Fortunately there will be saved from the wreck the bell, which has summoned thousands to worship. It will be placed at the Brigham Young university, where it will call to work and devotion, this and coming generations, some of them descendants of those for whom at first it tolled. (Deseret News 03 Jul 1917)

1916 photo (

22 Jun 1921 – Tabernacle Grounds to be made into Park
The tabernacle grounds are to be converted into a beautiful park, according to an announcement made by President T. N. Taylor today. Plans that will make these grounds Provo’s central beauty spot are now in the hands of Architect Joseph Nelson, and while all of the details have not been worked out or accepted by the local authorities, President Taylor declared today that they will for the most part be accepted.

The plans call for the main entrance from Center street even with the north door of the tabernacle. In the center of this entrance will be an axis from which paths will run in four directions. At the west end of the path running east and west will be a large lily pool behind which will be erected a pergola which may be used for a speakers’ or band stand. Near this will be an artistic sun dial. Besides the main axis there will be an axis circular in form which will contain a raised flower bed, from which paths will extend in various directions. In the southwest corner of the park will be a group of trees and a clump of tall shrubs will be planted along the west side of the park.

Among the decorative plants to be used in beautifying the grounds will be the spireas, lilacs, privet hedge, dogwoods, ivies, flowering perennials and annuals.

President Taylor says that while all of the planting may not be done this year it is the intention to prepare the grounds at as early date as possible. (Deseret News 22 Jun 1921)

Tower removed with pedestal base remaining (Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection)

02 Dec 1938 – Provo Gives Noted Artist Fiery Ovation
By this time, Sergei Rachmaninoff, aristocrat of pianists knows that the progressive city of Provo holds an audience second to none in its enthusiasm for his music. By 6:30 p.m. a long queue stood before the door of the Tabernacle. At 7:30, the line, four-deep, extended one block to Main Street. By 8, the Tabernacle held at least one-sixth of the town’s total population.

Into an atmosphere, electric with youthful enthusiasm, Rachmaninoff moved slowly, deliberately as if walking was an effort. If he was moved by the reception, he manner as always, showed no trace of a kindred feeling. His whole appearance belied that of his profession. Rachmaninoff looks more like a monk, worn by rigid asceticism and a contempt for the vanities of this world, than a world favorite.

His playing was as dispassionate. In the Rameau ‘Variations’ and the Bach ‘Toccata, E Minor’ exhibitionism had no part. Music, pure music, delicate in its gradations, seemed the artist’ only concern…Untiring salvos of applause finally brought the artist out for a single encore, his own ‘Prelude in C Sharp Minor.’ (Deseret News 02 Dec 1938)

The 1938 graduating class and their families and friends crowded the Provo Tabernacle. (Courtesy, L.Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.)

28 Nov 1949
Preparations have been completed for the presentation of two benefit concert programs scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evenings in the Provo Tabernacle, the four participating stake presidencies reported Monday. The concerts are being sponsored jointly by the four Provo area stakes, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a fund raising campaign to assist in the remodeling program of the 75-year-old tabernacle, church and community landmark. Tickets are good for either of the two concerts, and families have been urged to attend in groups. There are approximately 5000 LDS families in the four stakes that participate in use of the tabernacle. (Deseret News 28 Nov 1949)

By the 1960’s, attempts were made to have the building demolished. Thanks to the effort of the late Provo architect Fred L. Markham, chairman from 1965 to 1967 of a council of the stake presidents who used the building, these efforts failed. (Places of Worship, page 123)

Post card with reconfigured roof (postmarked 22 Aug 1953)

09 Sep 1975 – Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
From the application: The interior assembly hall is a spectacular space. The original pews, horseshoe gallery, decorative woodworking and beautiful organ loft with exposed pipes remain as a tribute to the craftsmanship of our pioneer ancestors. Below the chapel are four rooms for the accomodation of the Stake Presidency, High Council and auxiliary Stake boards. On the top floor is a circular prayer room with dressing rooms attached. There is also a baptismal font with dressing rooms in the basement. The treatment of the interior is tastefully lavish and inspiring. There is an especially impressive mood in the morning when the sunlight floods into the huge chapel through the many stained glass windows.

The interior is finished with painted, stained and varnished sugar pine wood. The stand was designed by Thomas Allman. When first finished the benches were made with straight backs and the seats were covered with red velvet – later these were replaced by curved back, spring-filled leather upholstered benches. A green plush curtain separated the choir from the top pulpit and speakers. When the green curtain was removed, the space was filled with a strip of fir lumber, beautifully designed, carved and engraved by Thomas M. Allman, which has been admired by many church leaders, diplomats, and thousands of Saints and friends. The balcony extends around the entire assembly hall and the building is well lighted, heated and ventilated. (National Register of Historic Places Application)

Interior Rostrum (Utah State Historical Society Classified Photo Collection) “The woodwork of the rostrum was a truly remarkable piece of craftsmanship, mixing a variety of Victorian and Greek Revival elements in an elaborate composition of curved, horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. Although somewhat lacking in unity between interior and exterior, the tabernacle demonstrated both the originality of Folsom’s compositional skills and the breadth of his eclecticism.” (Paul L. Anderson, Places of Worship, page 123)

16 Nov 1988
Helge Skjeveland’s candelabra and tux may not be as flamboyant as Liberace’s, but his computerized laser beam concert was an unusual sight in the Provo Tabernacle. (Deseret News 16 Nov 1988)

25 Dec 1996
Catholics celebrate Mass in Provo Tabernacle
The only familiar fixture in the Provo Tabernacle on Christmas Eve might have been the fussing children, clutching bags of cereal meant to keep them quiet. The crucifix, candles, communion wine, incense and statue of the Virgin Mary definitely were new. “Well, the roof didn’t fall in,” said St Francis of Assisi parishioner Steve Williams after the 5:30 p.m. service. Tuesday night was the first time the building in downtown Provo was used for a non-Mormon religious service. (Deseret News 25 Dec 1996)

Provo Tabernacle-5027 by tburning

17 Dec 2010 – Provo Tabernacle Fire
Firefighters continued to try and put out flames Friday afternoon after a fire broke out at the Provo Tabernacle early Friday morning on December 17, 2010 on University Avenue in Provo. The fire at the Provo Tabernacle is contained but not controlled, according to firefighters. Officials believe the historic building caught fire sometime around 2:30 a.m. (Daily Herald)

Crews were expected to mop up hot spots overnight from Friday’s four-alarm fire that gutted the historic Provo Tabernacle. “All of the roof has collapsed into the structure, and now it’s just a process of putting out the burning debris and getting it safe for us to go and take a look at it,” said Provo Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield. Fire crews remained at the scene through Friday/Saturday night as flames and embers could still be seen inside the building. (Deseret News 18 Dec 2010)

Provo Tabernacle Ruins 7 by arbyreed

utah ice and storage

I had no idea this building was up for demolition until reading today that it was demolished three days ago. The Utah Heritage Foundation had good coverage of the demolition. I’m so glad I was able to take some pictures of the building back in July. As I sat at the TRAX station waiting to head back home on that hot July afternoon, I was struck by the amazing potentials of the building, both its prime location and the beauty that restoring it would bring to the SLC Transit hub block. I thought of Portland’s Pearl District, where industrial buildings and warehouses have been preserved and now are the center of the most vibrant part of the city.

But, sadly, no such vision exists in Salt Lake City.

Before Photo

After Photo (Utah Heritage Foundation Photo of Demolition)

So many buildings of significance here in SLC are being demolished and replaced with something infinitely worse than was there before. The dumbing-down of Salt Lake. Willful and deliberate destruction. Remember how much effort it took just to save the Deseret Bank Building downtown? The intent, desire and goals of the developer, architect, and client of City Creek was to tear it down and put up a new non-descript building with no character in its place. Thankfully the people rose up in protest to preserve and restore the building.

I’m sure the plans for this prominent, yet run-down corner of the city are to put up yet another new non-descript character-less building. How many more Gateway mall buildings do we really need in our city? How many City Creek buildings can we handle? If this is part of some kind of New Urbanist Redevelopment thinking in Utah, I want nothing to do with it. Not when there is so much historic beauty waiting to be cleaned-up, restored, and preserved.

Taken from the TRAX station looking towards Utah Ice and Storage building with Rio Grande depot in distance

saint olaf catholic church

Orchard Drive & 1800 South
Bountiful, Utah
Architect – Brotherton & Gillies
Dedicated – July 29, 1980

“For nearly 100 years after the area was first settled by the Mormon pioneers, there were no Catholic churches between Salt Lake City and Ogden. The few Catholics in South Davis County attended Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City. St. Olaf Parish was established May 26, 1943, as a Paulist Mission to include the entire Davis County. The name of St. Olaf, Viking king and patron saint of Norway, was chosen by Bishop Duane G. Hunt in recognition of the Scandinavian residents of Utah.

By the beginning of 1978, the parish had 400 families. Father Thomas L. McNamara held a general parish meeting where it was decided it was time to build a permanent church. Ground breaking for the new church and parish hall took place July 8, 1979. The basic structure was completed by professional builders in April 1980. Parish volunteers finished the interior, including sheet rocking, painting, plumbing, and electrification.

The new church was dedicated July 29, 1980, the 950th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Olaf. By 1983, the parish had 500 families. The parish hall, the McNamara Center, was completed in time for its first big event, the annual Ladies Luncheon on Oct. 15.” (Saint Olaf Catholic Church website)

Church Building Under Way
“Bountiful – Construction of a parish center at St. Olaf’s Catholic Church and School northeast corner of 18th South and Orchard Drive, is expected to be completed by spring of 1980. The Rev. Thomas L. McNamara, pastor of St. Olaf’s Catholic Church, said ground was broken for the $700,000 building in July but construction did not begin until the end of August.

He said the two-story brick building will contain a basketball court, parish social center, kitchen and other rooms on one side and a church on the other. Church services are now being held in a large room in the school.

Father McNamara said the contractor for the building is William Francis Construction Co. and the architect is Brotherton & Gillies, both Salt Lake City firms. The pastor said his church is in the midst of a fund drive to raise the $700,000 needed to construct the building.” (Deseret News 27 Nov 1979)

eagle emporium

The Eagle Emporium building at 102 South Main Street has quite a complicated little history. And with that history comes a plethora of contradictory information to go along with it. So in an attempt to sort through it all, I have listed as good a summary as I could muster on this building, with supporting data presented below in chronological order.

Previously on the site:
1857 Butcher shop built for $1000 by William Jennings (History of Salt Lake City, pg 78)
1861 The Octagon House (tanning business) by William Jennings

Summary History of Building:
1864 Two-story Eagle Emporium built (William Jennings owner, William Paul architect); Store opened on Thursday 04 Aug 1864
1868 Name changed to ZCMI after Jennings buys into co-op with Brigham Young
1873 Clock erected according to Utah Heritage Foundation (1878 according to Utah State Hist Society)
1876 ZCMI moves to new location, name changed back to Eagle Emporium
1885 Two-story addition constructed, creating a four-story building
1890 Building function changed to house a bank, becoming the Utah National Bank with some accompanying construction work done on building
1912 Renamed to Utah State National Bank with Joseph F Smith as president – absorbing State Bank of Utah, Utah Comm. & Savings, and Utah National Bank
1916 Extensive renovation of interior and exterior of building
1949 Renamed to Utah First National Bank
1956 Renamed to First National Bank of Salt Lake City with building still named Utah First National Bank Building
1958 Renamed to Zions First National Bank with building still named Utah First National Bank Building
1962 Building name changed to Zions First National Bank
1982 Extensive remodel of interior and exterior, including the removal of the top two floors

Built in 1864, the Eagle Emporium Building is the oldest existing commercial building in downtown Salt Lake City. William Jennings, Utah’s first millionaire, constructed the building to house his mercantile business. It is the city’s only remaining commercial structure built prior to the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The Eagle Emporium Building is also notable as the first home of ZCMI. At the request of Brigham Young, Jennings exchanged his emporium’s inventory for stock in the new ZCMI in 1868. He also leased this building to the cooperative. The building’s long banking history began in 1890 when Utah National Bank occupied the building. The bank covered the building’s original red sandstone facade with a veneer of terra-cotta in 1916. The ornate clock in front of this building is one of the few remaining pieces of 19th-century street furniture in Salt Lake City’s downtown. The clock was erected on this site in 1873 and was first powered by a water wheel. (Utah Heritage Foundation walking tour)

In the year 1864, on the 7th of February, Elias Morris and his men commenced work on the Eagle Emporium; in June he commenced Wm. S. Godbe’s Exchange Buildings, and in July Ransohoff’s store, south of Jennings’. It was at this date that Main Street began to assume fully the imposing appearance of a merchant street. (History of Salt Lake City, pg 153)

Drawing taken from a 26 May 1875 Deseret News advertisement

Praiseworthy Enterprize
We had the pleasure of visiting the newly erected, substantially built and well finished store of brother William Jennings, on the day of opening – Thursday last, and were much pleased with the design, good workmanship and ornamentation of the structure. The plate glass windows and doors, the winding staircase, the pretty looking cedar topped counters with their brilliant French polish, the large mirror at the west end, with the gilded timepiece immediately above it, and between the two cut plate glass doors, one of which opens into the office and the other into the weighing or receiving room, the side mirrors which encase fancy goods and ladies’ notions in narrow perpendicular cupboards, together with the office, show room up stairs, and the capacious cellar amply supplied with the comforts and luxuries of life, are unmistakable indications of the energy, enterprize and taste of the proprietor. – The Eagle in front, in our opinion, is much too small for the space allotted to him. Brother Jennings is an old citizen; he has grown with the growth of our own people, and has done much towards improving our city, and we cordially wish success to the Eagle Emporium. (10 Aug 1864 Des News)

Mr. Jennings was a lover of home magnificence. To his examples Salt Lake City owes greatly its fine solid appearance of to-day. With his Eagle Emporium he commenced the colossal improvements on Main Street, in which he was followed by William S. Godbe and the Walker Brothers…In 1864 he built the Eagle Emporium, a large and substantial stone building, in which he done a business amounting to $2,000,000 per annum, – thus making himself the leading merchant of the western country. (History of Salt Lake City, pg 78-79)

Autobiographical sketch of Bishop Elias Morris after his death confirms: I returned to Salt Lake City and commenced contracting in the year 1864; put up the Eagle Emporium for Mr. Jennings and the drug store for Mr. Godbe. (26 Mar 1898 The Deseret Weekly)

01 Mar 1869 – Zions Wholesale Co-operative Commercial Institution commenced business in the Eagle Emporium. (In 05 Jan 1870 Des News)

On March 1, 1869, the first wholesale store was opened in Jennings’ Eagle Emporium, on the corner of First South and Main Streets. Brigham Young, himself, gave the first order, for $1000 worth of goods. (10 Oct 1948 Des News)

The celebration yesterday of the completion of the Pacific Railroad came off in this city, yesterday. The principal business places, stores and manufactories were closed, and work suspended for the rest of the day. In the evening the business portions of the city were beautifully illuminated; the City hall, Theatre, Eagle Emporium, Exchange Buildings and Wells Fargo & Co’s office being the most brilliant. (11 May 1869 Des News)

Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) from Utah State Historical Society – undated, but taken between 1869 and 1876

Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) from Utah State Historical Society – undated, but taken between 1869 and 1876

Co-op, Eagle Emporium
The new building being erected by Mr. Jennings at the west side of the Eagle Emporium has now progressed sufficiently to remove the roof timbers. This building when complete will make the corner building look quite insignificant; the only remedy left is, to not only raise said building to a corresponding height, but also to remodel the whole structure both on its north and east sides. The adjoining building is very substantial in its timbering, being erected under the personal supervision of Messrs. Kendall and Romney, subcontractors under Folsom and Romney. (3 Sep 1872 Salt Lake Tribune)

Contemplated Changes
A number of changes in the arrangement of the several departments of Z.C.M.I. so far as location is concerned, are contemplated by Superintendent Clawson, as soon as the fine structure immediately adjoining the old Eagle Emporium building is finished. We understand the retail dry goods branch will be conducted, as heretofore, in the eastern part of the buildings, while the wholesale department of that branch will occupy the upper part. The front and central portion of the structure now in course of completion will be partitioned off as an office, and a magnificent office it will be. The partitions, most of the upper portion of which will be of glass, are being constructed by Mr. William Paul, architect and builder. The office will be lighted from the front by means of several very large plate glass windows. Between the old Emporium building and the office will be erected the grand staircase which will lead to the upper part of the building. The shoe department will also be in the same division and immediately west of the office, while the premises of the clothing department will be extended back and in addition to the present location will occupy the rear portion of the new building. The Grocery department will be transferred from the Old Constitution Buildings to the western division of the new Emporium Buildings, and we understand the Old Constitution premises will be used for the conducting of the machinery, wagon and agricultural implement business.

Doubtless the changes will be beneficial to the interests of Z.C.M.I., the business of which keeps continually increasing, demanding, as a matter of course, an extension of premises, and the concentrating of nearly all the departments in one range of buildings will greatly add to the facility with which business can be transacted. (13 Nov 1872 – Des News)

A Decision in the Co-op Property Case
We presume all our readers are familiar with the fact that what is known as Mr. Jennings’ property, on which the Eagle Emporium (now Co-op buildings) stand, has for some months past been contested in the Probate Court by the heirs of Mr. Cain, who first settled the land in question. The disputed property takes in more than what the Co-operative buildings stand on, running as it does ten rods south on Main street and the same distance west on First South street. On Main street it takes in the Eagle Emporium, Co-op drug store, Mr. Callahan’s hardware store and the People’s Emporium clothing store, while on First South street it takes in the Eagle Emporium and the majority of the new wholesale buildings recently built by Mr. Jennings and occupied by Z.C.M.I. (14 Apr 1873 Salt Lake Tribune)

Zion’s First National Bank from Utah State Historical Society – undated. The name of the bank was not Zion’s until much later. This photo would have been taken prior to 1885 since only two stories are shown. And since the taller building to the west is completed, the photo would have been taken after 03 Sep 1872. So I would date the photo from 1873-1884 and title it Eagle Emporium.

About the meanest trick that has been perpetrated in Zion for many a day, was the stealing of that “Holiness to the Lord” sign in front of the Eagle Emporium. It was taken between two days, and the Lord will undoubtedly frown upon the perpetrator of this great crime, and make his life short and full of trouble. (29 May 1875 SL Trib)

The Eagle Emporium
This is one of the largest mercantile establishments in Salt Lake City or the entire Rocky Mountain region. We lately inspected the contents of its various departments, and as we passed from one of them to another, we were reminded of some of the large wholesale houses we have seen in eastern cities. In staple and fancy dry goods, including silks, laces, ribbons, &c. this house transacts a very extensive business, and its stock comprises a complete assortment of these goods. In its appropriate department is an immense stock of clothing, gents furnishings, boots and shoes, &c. The grocery department of the institution carries an immense stock which includes all lines of staple, fancy and family groceries. The hardware department includes a very large assortment of stoves, ranges, &c., well adapted to the wants and necessities of this country. The proprietors of this mammoth house, Messrs. Wm. Jennings and Sons, have succeeded in keeping an immense trade, and have made their house very popular among all classes of buyers. We commend our readers to their establishment as one in which can be found a vast collection of all lines of general merchandise at low prices. (10 Sep 1880 Logan Leader)

The Eagle Emporium
Our readers will notice in this issue, a new advertisement from Messrs. Jennings & Sons, proprietors of that mammoth mercantile establishment, the Eagle Emporium, Salt Lake City. Country merchants would do well to send to them for Christmas fruits, fancy dry goods, not obtainable elsewhere in Utah, and in short for any kind of general merchandise. This also is the place for holiday visitors to Salt Lake to make purchases. The Eagle Emporium comprises one of the largest, most varied and complete stocks of general merchandise to be found in the entire Rocky Mountain region. (17 Dec 1880 Logan Leader)

31 Dec 1880 New Year’s Eagle Emporium advertisement taken from the Logan Leader

The work of building up the Emporium corner has been commenced by the contractor, Mr. Elias Morris. It is the intention to make the corner building one story higher, which will raise it above the top of the buildings now on the west side. That recently occupied by T.W. Jennings, and Swaner Brothers’ store, will be replaced by new structures, and will both have handsome ornamental fronts. According to the plan, these improvements will, when completed, give to the corner an imposing appearance. The first and second stories of the Emporium building will be used by T.W. Jennings, in his business, and the third floor will be a large hall, for meetings, etc. The store next west is to be occupied by Jennings & Sons’ bank. (11 Mar 1885 Des News)

Utah State National Bank ca. 1885 from Utah State Historical Society. Either the name or date on this are wrong, since the bank wasn’t called the Utah State National Bank until 1912. If 1885 is the correct date, the two upper stories would have just been added.

24 Feb 1890 and 01 Mar 1890 Des News
Taylor, Romney & Armstrong were granted permission to pile building material in front of the Eagle Emporium, under the usual restrictions.

By 01 Sep 1890 in the Salt Lake Tribune, the building on the corner of Main and First South is listed as the Utah National Bank building

Sues the Bank on a Lease
Priscilla Paul Jennings has brought suit against the Utah National Bank to recover $600 alleged to be due as rent for the Eagle Emporium building. The suit is based upon a lease made on January 16, 1890, to Joseph M. Stoutt and Joseph F. Kaldenbaugh and assigned by them to the bank. The lease runs for a period of twelve years from May 1, 1890. It provides for the payment of $750 per month for the first five years, and for such sum per month during the second five years as the property should be worth for such period. (23 Jun 1895 SL Trib)

Priscilla Paul Jennings was the daughter of the Eagle Emporium architect, William Paul, and plural wife to Emporium building owner William Jennings. Jennings, who had been Salt Lake City mayor until 1885, had passed away in 1886.

In the suit of Priscilla Paul Jennings vs. the Utah National Bank, for rent for the Eagle Emporium block, the defendant filed an answer yesterday, in which it is claimed that a change in the stairway of the building in 1891 reduced the rental value of the third and fourth stories $125 per month. The defendant also contends that Thomas W. Jennings, the arbitrator appointed by Mrs. Jennings, under the provision of the lease of the building for the fixing of the rent for the remainder of the term, was prejudiced, being the stepson of the plaintiff, and therefore not qualified to act. (07 Jul 1895 SL Trib)

Utah National Bank 16 December 1905 from Utah State Historical Society

Utah National Bank 14 November 1910 from Utah State Historical Society

Utah State National Bank 28 June 1912 from Utah State Historical Society.

Utah State National Bank Bookkeeping Department 29 Dec 1914 from Utah State Historical Society

Utah State National Bank Bookkeeping Department 13 Jan 1915 from Utah State Historical Society

23 Aug 1916 Des News
Now doing business in our temporary location, 17 and 19 East First South Street.

Railroads Place Limit on Shipments of Freight
One of the largest concerns of the city now in the midst of building operations, is the Utah State National Bank. The iron and steel have arrived, but the terra cotta which comes from Denver is in process of shipment. Should the strike be prolonged, the operations at the bank would necessarily be delayed. (30 Aug 1916 Des News)

In a Deseret News bank ad on 06 Sep 1916, the Officers of Utah State National Bank are listed as Joseph F Smith President, Heber J Grant Vice President, Rodney T Badger Vice President. According to the large portraits lining the south wall in 2010 in the Zions Bank building, six presidents of the LDS Church have been President of this bank through its history.

New Home of Bank Nearing Completion
The terra cotta exterior walls of the Utah State National bank’s new home, at First South and Main street, have been completed, making a handsome and pretentious appearance, like polished stone. The vaults are all in position, the plastering is about complete, and the interior marble work and furnishing are being pushed. Vice President Rodney Badger said this noon that he expected the bank would locate in its new, permanent home May 1. Mr. Badger remarked that when the interior of the old structure was being torn out, the bank was widely criticised for not tearing down the whole thing, and beginning anew. But the salvage of the walls and skeleton structure of the old Jennings block saved the bank some $40,000 and the building to all appearances is entirely new. (28 Feb 1917 Des News)

Utah State National Bank 11 Nov 1947 from Utah State Historical Society

Zion’s First National Bank from Utah State Historical Society – undated, but most likely taken between 1958-1962 since the building name remains Utah First National Bank, but the sign out front and the business inside is named Zions First National Bank.

Street Clocks To Be Removed
The concern of the City Commission with private use of city property brought about a decision Monday to remove two of the city’s ancient street clocks. Mayor Earl J. Glade said the commission voted to order the clocks removed because they are now obstructions and don’t run any more. He said the owners have moved away and are trying to sell the clocks to present tenants of the buildings behind them. The clocks are located on the west side of Main Street between South Temple and First South Streets and on the north side of Third South Street between Main and State Streets. The commission said another clock, in front of the Utah First National Bank on the southwest corner of Main and First South Streets, will be allowed to remain so long as it is properly maintained and keeps good time. (13 Dec 1950 Des News)

“I’ll meet you at the clock on the corner,” has been part of Salt Lake City conversation for nearly 100 years. The clock in reference is the pioneer clock on the southwest corner of First South and Main Street. The clock was brought to Utah about 1870 in an ox-drawn wagon. The cast iron clock, made by Robert Wood & Co of Philadelphia, is 18 feet tall. The clock was placed directly on the corner by Mayor William Jennings early in the 1870s.

The ‘old clock’ played a part in romance. Some young men wanted to play a joke on Arthur Pryor, a famous musician in Sousa’s Band, who had taken a fancy to charming Maude Russell. The young fellows sent a note to Arthur, “Meet me at the clock,” and signed it Maude. All aglow with eagerness, Arthur showed up and waited two hours while the jokers watched and snickered. Miss Russell found out about the prank and amid the explanations that followed a romance began and Mr. Pryor and Miss Russell were married.

The early clock works were driven by a water wheel, according to Joseph Bowd, retired employee of Zions bank. “A tunnel was dug under the building and a stream of water diverted from city creek canyon to drive the water wheel which in turn ran the clock works,” he said. Later the water power was replaced with a spring drive. “I can remember winding the springs, four large ones that ran the clock for five days,” Mr. Bowd said. “When the spring drive was abandoned for wet cell batteries it was my job to see that the clock didn’t run down as the batteries got old,” Mr. Bowd continued.

“About every six months I would call Charles Spahr at Western Union and he would come over and change the solution in the wet cells. He would come in at eight in the evening and work until after midnight. I had to stay right there because the cells were kept in the basement of the bank, down where the vault was,” Mr. Bowd explained.

By 1912 a master clock was installed in the bank and the ‘old clock’ was connected to the master works. “It may have been at this time that the original works were replaced by International Business Machine gears. For many years IBM serviced the works,” Mr. Bowd said.

The clock was moved a few feet from the corner spot about 1900when the new power poles were placed down Main Street. The clock cannot be moved again or it will be gone forever. City ordinances now prohibit the building of any structure on the sidewalk. In March 1969, the works of the clock were removed and modernized and repaired. The clock then received a new coat of antiqued green and gold paint.

The corner, popular as a gathering place for shoppers, theatergoers from the Salt Lake Theatre only a block away, and conference crowds, still remains a busy place. After 100 years the four-sided clock is a treasure of pioneer heritage. It has graced the corner of Jennings Emporium where ZCMI had its beginning, and which later became the Zions bank corner. (19 July 1969, Pioneer Clock Still Ticks, Church News)

Historic clock 2010

OK expected on historic bank project
Salt Lake planning officials expect final approval Thursday on a plan to remove the top half of the historic Zions First National Bank, 102 S Main. The bank wants to cut off the top portion of the building because of structural problems with the roof but preserve the bottom half, which at one time was the Eagle Emporium and later ZCMI’s first location.

The city’s Historic Landmarks Committee Monday approved the idea, with committee members agreeing it is better to save the historic lower part than risk losing the entire building. Although it is visually a four-story structure, the building actually has only two floors. The bottom portion was built in 1863 in the style known as Romanesque. In the 1880’s the top half was added, and in 1916, the façade on the bottom was remodeled in the neoclassical style.

One committee member, Dr Henry Whiteside, abstained from voting because he believed the work would not restore the building to its original Romanesque style, but only cut a historic structure in half. The committee makes recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Commission which usually accepts the recommendations without further debate. Bank officials said a new highrise structure is planned for the area south of the bank. (16 Dec 1981 Des News)

10 Apr 1982 Des News
In the next block south, many changes are under way including the remodeling of the Zions First National Bank office at First South and Main…

View of current two-story building from Main Street looking west 2010

View of current two-story building from First South looking east 2010

Zions First National Bank reverts to its turn-of-the-century sparkle
Construction barriers have been removed around Zions First National Bank, 102 S. Main, as work progresses to restore the building to its turn-of-the-century condition. Robert Barnes, in charge of physical facilities for Zions, said the terra cotta work on the remaining two sides is being done by Gladding-McBean of California, the same firm that did the Hotel Utah.

Interior work is scheduled to be finished about Sept. 1. It includes restoring old brass teller cages and some work on additional customer services in the building’s basement, where safety deposit boxes are located. Some of the old brass had been painted, Barnes said. Metals Manufacturing of Salt Lake City is doing the metal work. At one time the historic building was the Eagle Emporium. Later it was the first location of ZCMI.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved cutting off the top two stories of the four-story building because of structural problems with the roof, agreeing that it was better to save the historic lower part than risk losing the entire building. Although it was visually a four-story structure, the building actually had only two floors. The bottom portion was built in 1863 in the style known as Romanesque. In the 1880’s, the top half was added, and in 1916, the facade on the bottom was remodeled in the neoclassical style.

Barnes said the building is being restored to a turn-of-the-century condition – when the terra cotta work was done – and not its original state when it was the Eagle Emporium. Barnes said the bank is still open for business, although some business is being done through the adjacent trailer bank in the parking lot.

ZCMI occupied the building until 1876 when it moved to its present location. The building housed a business college in the 1880’s. Since 1890, it has housed the Utah National Bank which, by 1957, through a series of mergers and name changes became Zions First National Bank. It was designed by English-born William Paul, who was also architect of the Devereaux House. (29 Jun 1982 Des News)

Interior of bank 2010; three of the six portraits shown lining the south wall portray the LDS Church presidents who also served as presidents of this bank through its history

Upstairs balcony level overlooking the main double-height space of the bank 2010

New ‘old’ look for historic S.L. landmark by George Ferguson
A nostalgic re-birth will take place Monday at the southwest corner of First South and Main Streets when Zion First National Bank re-opens its office. The nostalgia will center around the “grand old clock” which is back on that corner – where it was erected in 1870. Made in Philadelphia by Robert Wood & Co., tradition has it that the old clock was brought to the Salt Lake Valley by ox team and wagon.

The 18-foot ornate timepiece was first powered by a waterwheel. A tunnel (rediscovered in 1975 by Main Street beautification workers) was dug under the corner where Zions Bank now stands, and a stream of water was diverted from City Creek Canyon. The water drove the wheel which powered the clock.

Later the waterwheel was replaced with four large springs which were rewound about every five days. Eventually the springs were replaced with wet cell batteries. But if the old clock could talk, it would tell of past residents using it to meet streetcar timetables. No doubt it would tell, too, of it being used to set pocket watches in an earlier generation.

Zions Bank will celebrate its new look – or, rather, its new, old look – Monday through Friday, with open houses from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Light buffets will be served. After months of renovation work, the historic landmark has been restored inside and out to resemble its original 1874 appearance. At that time, it was known as the Eagle Emporium, a clothing and dry goods store built by entrepreneur William Jennings.

In 1868, the Emporium was leased to Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI). In 1870, the grand old clock was erected on a Victorian bronze and iron pedestal. Since that time, the corner has been dubbed the “Old Clock Corner.” In 1876, the building became the home of its first bank – Deseret National. Later its name was changed to Utah National Bank.

After the building was redesigned to its present appearance in 1912 by Don Carlos Young, the bank name was changed to Utah State National Bank. The upper two stories, added that year by Young, housed the YMCA and a business college. The big merger occurred in 1957 when Utah Savings and Trust Co., joined First National Bank of Salt Lake City and became Zions First National Bank.

For several years the building was headquarters for Zions First National Bank and now is a major branch of the bank. Jennings opened a butcher shop in the middle of First South near the Main Street intersection in 1857. In 1861, he and John Wilde erected the first structure on the southwest corner. It was named the Octagon House and it contained a tanning business. By 1864, Jennings had remodeled his original structure with the two-story Eagle Emporium. Outline of the Jennings store still is distinguishable. (29 Oct 1982 Des News)

Looking east towards bank entry on Main Street 2010

Interior light fixture and ceiling detail 2010

National historic register lists Zions bank clock by Paula Smilanich
The clock in front of Zions First National Bank at First South has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Dr. Kent Powell, preservation research coordinator for the Utah State Historical Society, said the clock was included in the Salt Lake City Downtown Multiple Resource nomination.

Located on the southwest corner of First South and Main streets, the Victorian-style clock is one of the few remaining 19th Century street fixtures in the downtown area of Salt Lake City. The clock is believed to be about 100 years old, although no record exists of when it was first erected.

Tradition holds that the clock was brought to Salt Lake City in a wagon pulled by oxen and erected on its present site sometime in the 1870’s. The clock is not present in 1868 photographs of the First South corner but appears in an 1880 photo. The 20-foot clock has always been owned by Zions First National Bank, but its architect and builder are unknown.

According to Joseph Bowd, longtime Zions Bank employee who retired in 1958, the clock’s original works were driven by a water wheel powered by a diversion tunnel from City Creek. Later, the water wheel was replaced with a spring drive. Eventually, the spring drive was abandoned for a series of wet cell batteries that were maintained by Charles Spahr of Western Union. The batteries were kept in the basement of the bank near the vault.

Before 1912, a master clock system was installed in the bank and the old clock was connected to it. It was probably at this time that the cell batteries were replaced with International Business Machine gears. Now the internal workings of the clock are solid and little service is required. The clock was placed on the national register of historic places because the federal government recognized its significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. (15 Jun 1983 Des News)

Exterior column of building 2010

Bird’s-eye aerial of Zions First National Bank 2010 from Bing Maps. The building is now an island on the corner of the block, with all of the previously existing surrounding buildings removed.

new facebook page for photos

I have been taking quite a few pictures around town lately and only a very few make it into posts here, especially since I typically like to do research on a building before posting on it. without knowing anything about it. So I have started a new Facebook page where I will be posting the pictures as I take them. I have quite a bit of backlog, but when I catch up, they will be posted in a folder with the date of when they were taken. Hopefully this will not be an overload of pictures to those on the Facebook page. But I have added a link to this page on the sidebar. Or you can click here to go to the page. Anyone is welcome to add photos to the page as well, if you are so inclined.

the difference between owners and architects



William Jennings was the client behind such Salt Lake buildings as the Eagle Emporium and the Devereaux House. The architect on both projects was William Paul, father-in-law to Jennings. I think the difference in their graves illustrates quite well the difference between owners and architects…money.

Both graves are in sight of each other in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Seeing as how the two William’s were family and worked on multiple projects together, it is likely that Paul also designed the Jennings family grave as well. Paul’s daughter, Priscilla, was the second and plural wife to Jennings and was buried with her wealthy husband. It is said that Jennings was the first millionaire in Utah, making his fortune with the Eagle Emporium mercantile store. He later became fully invested into the ZCMI co-op at the convincing of Brigham Young, and used his store as the location of the first ZCMI store. Later in his life, Jennings would become mayor of Salt Lake City.

On the 80th birthday of William Paul, a grand celebration was given at his home and the evening was covered in the Deseret News the next day:

“The features of the evening’s enjoyment, after the excellent supper, was the warm, genial, and sociable family conversation, running back to many experiences in both the old and new worlds. These were of deep interest to the junior branches, and the congratulations and short speeches from Father Paul and his sons in rotation, then from his Hon. Mayor Wm. Jennings; also H.W. Naisbitt and P. Brookes, sons-in-law, then from J. Jacques and D. James, were indicative of high esteem and appreciation of the good example Father Paul has always set for industry, temperance, kindness, usefulness as a citizen, and fidelity as a Latter-day Saint. Fervent hopes were expressed that even this long life might be further lengthened until, like a shock of corn fully ripe, he shall be gathered with those who have gone before into the garner of the Lord.” (Deseret Evening News, 3 May 1883)

He died five-and-a-half years later.

As for William Jennings, as one of the most prominent citizens of the Utah Territory, his death saw flags flying at half mast in the city.

“He worked his way up from the smallest of business beginnings until he was a banker, a railroad magnate, a chief co-operative manager, a leader in numerous enterprises of magnitude, a manufacturer and a millionaire. His shrewdness and foresight, his originality of thought and independence of character, were manifest in all his affairs and were used for public benefit when he officiated as a legislator, as Mayor of this city and as a leading citizen interested in all that tended to promote the general welfare. A kind husband and father, a large-hearted and hospitable entertainer, a friend to the poor, a genial, approachable and companionable man, he will be greatly missed in the community, and he will be mentioned with kindly feelings and general esteem.” (Deseret News, 20 Jan 1886)

So maybe there is really no difference between owners and architects after all…

ibm building two

The second, or ‘New IBM’ building to be built in Salt Lake City began construction in 1981 and is located at 420 E South Temple. The building is one of only several buildings designed in the Brutalist style to be built in Salt Lake. The word brutalism is coined from the French Béton brut which means raw concrete. Many people are quite critical of brutalist buildings, and as a result, many of these buildings have already been torn down. More recently, however, there has been somewhat of a resurgence and greater appreciation for Brutalist design.

The architect for this building was John N Clawson. Drawings were stamped in July of 1981 for the owner, the Boyer Company. Shortly after construction, in 1983, the Boyer Company commissioned an art installation for the center courtyard entitled ‘Lorraine’ by Neil Hadlock which still remains. A Deseret News ad for leasing office space on 6 Nov 1982 states, “New offices, fully furnished, plus receptionist conference room and covered parking.” Another on 12 Feb 1983 identifies the building as the “New IBM Building”. Towards the end of 1989, IBM located an Intermountain Regional office here.

The influence of this building can best be seen in the Wesley Posvar Hall at the University of Pittsburgh. Originally named, Forbes Quadrangle, Posvar Hall was completed three years prior to the IBM building in 1978. The exposed concrete structure and what appear to be post-tensioned concrete waffles on the underside of the floors shows striking similarity between the two buildings. Similarly, the stepping in of floors as you move towards ground level and the use of linear openings of darkened glass also link the two buildings together. This stepping in provides a sun shade for each floor below and would provide energy cost savings by not having direct sunlight glaring on the office windows.

Two images of Posvar Hall at the University of Pittsburgh, which heavily influenced the IBM building. Interestingly, both Posvar Hall and IBM Building share a beautiful yellow sculpted art installation. (Photo source)

One of the current tenants in the building is MHTN Architects who moved into the building in 1998 from the Newhouse building. Several years ago, a tenant remodel of their office space received a LEED Gold certification for a Commercial Interiors project.

plum alley photos

These photos were taken during a lunchtime excursion through Plum Alley in March of 2010.

Back side of Zim’s Crafts on Plum Alley

Underneath Regent Street Parking Terrace on Plum Alley

Underneath Regent Street Parking Terrace on Plum Alley

wetland discovery point

“Today less than 1% of Utah’s total land is wetlands. Seventy-five percent of these remaining wetlands, approximately 400,000 acres, are part of the Greater Great Salt Lake Ecosystem. This wetland ecosystem is known internationally for its importance to migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, not to mention aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and other avian species on the move during seasonal migrations. The Greater Great Salt Lake Ecosystem encompasses the area from Cache Valley, down the Bear River, along the shore of the Great Salt Lake, up the Jordan River, around Utah Lake and up the Provo River to Jordanelle Reservoir. It includes freshwater wetlands, salt water wetlands, open water, mudflats, and everything in between to support an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.

In 1995, the Mitigation Commission funded a Needs Assessment and Conceptual Plan for Interpretive Recreation and Education for the Greater Great Salt Lake Wetlands Ecosystem to help raise public awareness of this resource. The report identified a gap between the level of importance the public placed on wetlands and wetlands awareness, and opportunities available to satisfy those needs. To facilitate an interpretive recreation and education master plan that identifies how to reduce that gap for the Greater Great Salt Lake Ecosystem wetlands, the Commission helped fund and participated in developing a wetlands education plan.

The Commission’s partnership with the Utah Botanical Center includes Commission funded construction in 2005, 2006 and 2008 of portions of the Center’s proposed wetlands education facilities. Moreover, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided the opportunity to complete installation of solar panels, a trail and boardwalks, and native vegetation at the Center’s Wetlands Discovery Point. The Wetlands Discovery Point is a state-of-the-art classroom located adjacent to constructed wetlands. It received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification, the highest ranking awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.”

From ajc architects website:

“Built on the edge of a series of small ponds, elevated over the floodplain, the Wetland Discovery Point will facilitate interaction between the natural environment and primarily K-12 students. The Utah Botanical Center is committed to being an example of sustainable design to the State of Utah and its surrounding communities.

The facility is LEED Platinum Certified. Key sustainable features include geothermal heating and cooling, passive solar trombe wall, photovaltaics, solar hot water, trestlewood harvested from the Great Salt Lake, water collection rainwater harvesting caterer, operable windows designed for natural convection, waterless/low flow fixtures, highly reflective roof, large eaves for shading and sun control, and the boardwalk.”

Project Recognition
2009 Intermountain Contractor, Best Sustainable Project, Merit Award
2009 AIA Utah Sustainable Design, Merit Award
2010 USGBC LEED Platinum

“This newly constructed 3,200 square-foot building, Wetland Discovery Point, is the third LEED Platinum certified structure in the state of Utah, making it one of the greenest buildings around. WDP is part of the Utah Botanical Center of Utah State University and provides an indoor / outdoor learning experience for over 4,000 school children each year.

* Butterfly roof for rainwater collection;
* Rainwater collection used for toilets/landscaping;
* Drought tolerant, native landscaping;
* Radiant floor heating and cooling;
* 30% more openings for natural ventilation;
* 10-ft high trombe wall to collect passive solar heat;
* Low-water use fixtures and plumbing;
* On-site solar panels for green power;
* Rooftop solar water heating for showers, sinks, radiant floor;
* 95% of the construction waste was recycled;
* Use of FSC-certified woods and low VOC products; and
* High recycled content materials used throughout.

Eventually, combining the passive solar design features, together with the solar thermal and solar panels, the Wetland Discovery Center intends to be net zero energy. It’s a stunning, modern example of cutting-edge sustainable design.”

“The building’s wing-like roof is visible from I-15 in Kaysville adjacent to the UBC ponds. It is the site of educational courses and field trips for adults and the thousands of school children who visit the center each year to learn about the importance of conservation and wetland ecosystems. “It isn’t often a client is willing to commit to the extra cost associated with achieving a LEED Platinum level of certification,” said Derek Wilson, ajc’s project architect. “It was a combined effort from a determined and committed owner to every engineer and subcontractor working on the project.” Although it is a public space, Wetland Discovery Point showcases green design details that can be used in homes as well. The roof functions as both a rainwater collector and a tool to provide shade or allow winter sunlight into the building to warm it and provide abundant natural light. Harvested precipitation is stored in a cistern and used to irrigate part of the landscape and to flush low flow toilets. Much of the power used in the building will be solar generated, and solar-heated water flows through the building’s heating system. Extensive use of windows connects visitors with the landscape and improves ventilation.”

“Earning Platinum certification is an exciting step in our mission to demonstrate ways of living more sustainably,” said UBC Director David Anderson. “We constantly explore opportunities to teach people of all ages about the importance of good stewardship and this building reflects that goal. We are very appreciative of the support we received from the university, the design team, the contractor and our donors.”

USU Wetland Discovery Point Building Highlights from Gary Neuenswander on Vimeo.

–All photos taken by blog post author in April 2010.

salt lake 5th ward chapel

As we approach the 100-year anniversary from the laying of the cornerstone of the Salt Lake 5th Ward Meetinghouse this September 2nd, a fantastically diverse list emerges from its unique history: LDS chapel, flood shelter, photo studio, architect and real estate offices, home residence and rentals, escort services, goth/industrial night clubs, Tibetan Buddhist temple and school of movement. Tracking the history of this building provides insight into how buildings are able to evolve and transform over time if given the opportunity. I will preface the history of the building with a brief background on the Fifth Ward and the events leading up to the building of the Chapel. The bulk of the article will then show the timeline of the building throughout its history.

Fifth Ward is separated from the Sixth Ward on the north by 6th South Street, from the Fourth Ward on the east by 2nd West Street, bounded on the south by the limits of the city – Roper Street – on the west by the river Jordan. (Note that the West streets were renumbered in 1973 and are 100 more today than they previously were; i.e. 2nd West is now 3rd West, etc.) It comprises the south-west part of Salt Lake City, and had 340 inhabitants in 1880. Nearly the whole population are Latter-day Saints. The only public building in the Ward is the meetinghouse, a neat one story adobe structure, 50×30 feet, which is also used for school and other purposes. It is situated on the corner of 3rd West and 7th South Streets. (The Historical Record, Volume VI, Dec 1887, Nos. 9-12, ed. Andrew Jenson, p 311-312, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1889.)

1900 5th Ward Map – redrawn by author of post (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 1.)

History of the SLC Fifth Ward compiled by Andrew Jenson
The Fifth Ward was organized on 22 Feb 1849. In 1855 a small adobe meeting and school-house was built in the Fifth ward. After its erection, it was used for all public gatherings.

In July 1860 Elder Winter resigned his position as Bishop of the Fifth Ward, after which the Saints constituting the membership of the ward were attached to the neighboring ward on the north, the Sixth Ward, and remained thus for about seventeen years.

In 1869 the building fell down.

At a meeting held June 12, 1877 in the 6th Ward meetinghouse, at which Pres. Brigham Young and Daniel H. Wells, Apostles John Taylor and George Q. Cannon, the Stake Presidency and other authorities were present, the Fifth Ward was reorganized.

When the ward was reorganized in 1877, there was no meetinghouse for the saints to gather in; consequently the public meetings and other gatherings were held in Morris and Evans’ Brick yard located on the block lying immediately south of the present meeting-house; but as soon as the ward was organized, steps were taken to build a meeting-house which was done the same year. It was so far completed that the house was opened Sunday Nov. 18, 1877.
(LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 1.)

29 Apr 1910 – The Old Fifth Ward Meetinghouse now used as the Amusement Hall, will soon be a thing of the past. The corner on which it stands has recently changed hands and the structure in the near future will be torn down. Before this takes place the bishopric desire to hold a Ward Reunion and have decided upon Friday evening, April twenty-ninth. They request your attendance and that of your family over sixteen years of age. Program, Dancing, Banquet. Eight o’clock sharp. -From reproduction of the invitations sent to the members of the Fifth Ward when this second Chapel was to be torn down. (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953. See also Salt Lake Herald, 28 Apr 1910, Final Reunion in the Old Fifth Ward Hall)

The place where the Fifth Ward meetinghouse was located on Third West street near the railway track became unsatisfactory on account of the disturbances caused by the passing of trains, hence, on Sept. 2, 1910, the cornerstone for a new chapel was laid on the west side of Second West street between Seventh and Eighth South streets. Work was pushed forward on this building, and in 1911 it was finished, so that it could be opened for worship. This is a modern brick building well lighted by electricity and commodious. The auditorium in the main story has a seating capacity of about 300, and there are 8 class rooms in the basement for the convenience of Sunday School work. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 1.)

New Fifth Ward Chapel
The Fifth ward L.D.S. chapel, which is situated on Second West between Seventh and Eighth South streets, is now in the course of construction. When it is completed it will cost about $15,000. It is being built of red brick with white stone facings, and will be beautifully decorated and furnished. The foundation is already in and the brick work will probably begin next week.

Cannon and Fetzer are the architects and it is considered one of the best plans for a ward chapel that have been accepted so far. In the basement there will be a large amusement hall for social affairs and ward entertainments. It will contain a stage, and a kitchen is also attached for banquet purposes. The Relief society’s room will also be in the basement. In the rear of the basement the boiler rooms will be located.

The main floor will be occupied by the chapel. The Sunday school rooms will be located on the second and third floors, at the rear of the chapel. (Deseret Evening News, 16 Jul 1910)

Photo courtesy of LDS Church archives. (Citation needed)

Fifth Ward Chapel Corner Stone Laid
The corner stone of the Fifth ward meetinghouse, now being erected on Second West between Seventh and Eighth South streets, was laid Sunday afternoon with appropriate ceremony. The Saints of the ward adjourned from fast meeting to the site of the new chapel, and after selections by the ward choir, under the leadership of Thomas Brimley, prayer was offered by Elder Charles H. Hyde. Counselor Jesse R. Pettit then read a sketch of the ward from the time of its first settlement in the early fifties until the present day, showing the development of that section and the officers of the ward and ward organizations during a period of sixty years.

The new chapel is being built at a cost of approximately $20,000 and when completed will be one of the finest in the city. It is sufficiently commodious to provide ample room for all the ward organizations and will be ready for occupancy about Nov. 15. The building committee is composed the bishopric and Elder George E. Burbidge of the high council, and much credit is due them for the energy displayed in pushing the the erection of the new building. (Deseret Evening News, 03 Oct 1910)

Sunday School Picture – taken about 1917. (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953)

April 29, 1933, a social reunion was held in the Ward Chapel, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the organization of the Fifth Ward. The occasion was the completion of a thorough renovation of the Ward Chapel and Amusement Hall. All former members of the Ward were invited to attend and many former Bishops, counselors and active members took part on the program. A museum was conducted and all old relics in the Ward were on display. There were approximately 400 persons in attendance. Dancing was enjoyed in the evening in the Amusement Hall. (Stake reports of June 30, 1933) (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

During the past few months the Meeting House grounds have been improved with lawn, trees and graveled walks. (Stake reports of Sept. 30, 1933) (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Wednesday Evening May 6, 1936 Minutes of Special Priesthood Meeting held in the Fifth Ward Chapel at 8 p.m. Opening song “How Firm a Foundation.” Bishop Jesse M. Drury brought before the Priesthood the condition of the Chapel. The estimated cost of renovation being $1500.00 to bring the Building in A-1 condition. Submitted a plan of rebuilding the front of Chapel which would include several class rooms and entrance under cover. Showed the various plans and rooms that would be constructed. The new plan of construction would automatically reinforce the structure of the Chapel. Discussion by Bretheren as to advantages and disadvantages. Former Bishop Carl A. Carlquist moved that the Bishopric be in charge of the Building plans, seconded by Elder Frank H. Ford. Priesthood assembled voted unanimous. Estimated cost of construction $7500.00. Bishop Jesse M. Drury also announced the Church make work plan. Closing song “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.” (LDS Church History Library. General Minutes Fifth Ward (1849-1964), LR 2850 11 Reel #3, v. 9 p. 361-362)

March 4, 1937, a special meeting was called by the Bishopric to organize committees for the tearing down of the front of the Ward Chapel prior to remodeling. The work of remodeling the Chapel was begun, March 11, 1937. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Thursday Evening March 4, 1937 Minutes of Special Meeting called in regard to renovating the Fifth Ward Chapel. Meeting held in Northwest class room at 7:30 p.m. Brought before those assembled the plans as obeyed by the General Authorities of renovating the Meeting House. A general discussion of the plans as per blue prints was taken up. The following committees were formed. Finance Committee…Labor Committee…Construction Committee. (LDS Church History Library. General Minutes Fifth Ward (1849-1964), LR 2850 11 Reel #3, v. 10 p. 44)

In 1937, the entire front of the Chapel was town down and four classrooms, a Bishop’s office, and new boiler and heating plant installed at a cost of $22,500. In the picture Bishop Drury is giving a report. (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953)

Sunday evening May 16, 1937 Minutes of Laying of Corner Stone held at 5:25 p.m. Bishop Jesse M. Drury Sr. presiding and conducted exercises. Stake President Harold B. Lee in attendance. Opening song “Come, Come Ye Saints” Elder Donald Wardle conducted singing. Invocation Bishop Carl A. Carlquist. Stake President Harold B. Lee inspected building and papers going in the Corner Stone…Elder William R. Kone spoke as to the re-construction of Chapel. 2nd Counselor Albert Leo Vom Feld spoke as to loyal support of those who had contributed their labor so freely. Stake President Harold B. Lee spoke of building good and beautiful buildings for Sacrament Meetings, also of history of old members and their building buildings in which to meet and hold their meetings. Asked the Lord’s blessings on the Saints of the Fifth Ward. (LDS Church History Library. General Minutes Fifth Ward (1849-1964), LR 2850 11 Reel #3, v. 10 p. 59)

Elder Harold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve, is addressing those assembled. At that time he was the Stake President. (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953)

Sunday Evening Nov. 21, 1937 6:30 p.m. Dedicatorial Services Sacrament Meeting. (Bishopric also being released.) Bishop Jesse M. Drury spoke of his affections for the people of the Fifth Ward. Gave a detail of building in its construction. Told of his appreciation in being the Bishop. Pres. Harold B. Lee spoke of his approval in the selection of the new Bishopric. Apostle John A. Widstoe spoke of his appreciation in being a Latter Day Saint. The beauty of the building in its completeness. A House like the Fifth Ward is a monument to God. Apostle John A. Widstoe dedicated the Building to the Lord for His work and his servants teach therein. Bishop Jesse M. Drury asked the Lord’s blessings on all who worked on Chapel and their liberal contributions. Closing song – choir – “Lord this House We Dedicate.” (LDS Church History Library. General Minutes Fifth Ward (1849-1964), LR 2850 11 Reel #3, v. 10 p. 98)

“Bishop Drury served from April 1930 to July 1937 – through the heart of the Depression – and found more than half the membership of his ward unemployed in the spring of 1932. After prayerful consideration, he directed the initiation of a 14-acre welfare garden project at 300 West and 1300 South. The project put to work many unemployed in the ward and provided a bounteous crop to help feed needy families.” (LDS Church News, Spirit prompted leaders to meet needs, 26 May 1990)

“I would like to suggest that every one of us could learn from the example of Jesse Drury,” said President Thomas S. Monson. “He was a pioneer. He organized the first welfare farm next to the Fifth Ward chapel. He was a pioneer in showing what could be done through a mighty will and determined effort.” (‘A center where visitors learn of welfare‘, The Deseret News, 15 Dec 1990)

Fifth Ward Conference program Sunday Dec. 8, 1940 6:30 p.m.
The first chapel was an adobe building on 7th So. and 3rd West which fell down before the ward was reorganized. A temporary building was used until a new building was constructed, at which all participated, the men at building and the women bringing them food. In 1910 a better building being desirable, a lot was purchased and the present chapel erected. In 1937 this desire for betterment again manifested itself and the chapel was greatly improved. Handicapped by location and low income, the people of this Ward have been uniting in their efforts for a place of worship of which they could feel proud and where they could enjoy a spiritual association in the service of their God. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Oct 10, 1943, the Sacrament meeting was for the dedication of the newly installed pipe organ. Elder Harold B. Lee of the Council of Twelve Apostles was present and pronounced the dedicatorial prayer on the organ. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

This picture was taken a number of years ago. It is an Aaronic Priesthood group with their leaders. (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953)

Sept. 18, 1948. The ward chapel floor was carpeted. This added much to the appearance of the chapel. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Original Ward to Celebrate Anniversary
The Fifth Ward, one of the original 19 wards created in Salt Lake City a century ago, will note its hundredth anniversary in special ceremonies Sunday, March 20. A special program on March 20 will pay honor to the seven who have presided over the ward as bishops during the 100-year period. (Deseret News, 16 Mar 1949)

Apr. 14-30 1952. The ward was seriously afflicted by flood waters which resulted from rains which fell during this period. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.) According to the front page of the Deseret News on May 2, 1952, this flooding swamped 600 acres and left 2200 homeless in Salt Lake City.

1952 Flood. Second West – note meetinghouse on left. (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953)

1952 Flood. Fourth West – Gunn home on left completely destroyed. Fischer home on the right. (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953)

Church Welfare Provides Aid For Homeless Flood Victims: More Housing Needed As Homes Are Vacated
An appeal for help in housing evacuated flood victims was voiced Thursday as additional families were rescued from flood waters. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welfare workers helped 45 families out of flooded homes in the Temple View Stake Wednesday night. Carried out by rubber boats or in some cases by piggy-back were 20 families in the Fifth Ward, 12 in Arbor Ward, 10 in Thirtieth Ward, and three in Jefferson Ward. Eight of the Fifth Ward families were temporarily placed in the ward recreation hall. Three of them later were placed in homes. (Deseret News, Thursday, May 1, 1952)

Cheerful Despite Adversity – Ellie and Larry Gunn, children of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gunn, 990 South Fourth West St., pose cheerfully on some of the furniture piled in the basement of the Fifth Ward chapel, 740 South Second West St. The Gunns were forced from their home when the water got four feet deep. (Deseret News, Thursday, May 1, 1952)

Dinner for Everybody – Gathered around the stove in the kitchen of the Fifth Ward chapel are members of five flood-stricken families forced from their homes by rising waters. Standing counter-clockwise around the stove are Martha DeVries, Mrs. Mickey Fingerle, Mrs. Thomas Gunn and her son, Billy, Mrs. Cornelius DeLight and her two children, and Mrs. William D. Edwards. The women are stirring a pot in which “We are going to make stew for all five families for supper.” (Deseret News, Thursday, May 1, 1952)

Five Evacuated Families Live in Meetinghouse
Cheerful despite being forced from their homes by rising flood waters, five Salt Lake families are living together in the Fifth Ward meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 740 South Second West St.

The families were evacuated to the meetinghouse when the water in their homes forced them to seek shelter elsewhere.

Mrs. Thomas Gunn of 990 South Fourth West St., her husband and three children moved into the chapel Wednesday. “The water is four feet deep at our house,” Mrs. Gunn said…smiling and cheerful, despite her loss.

Mrs. Cornelius DeLigt, Dutch convert to the Church, comforted her small baby, Thelma, and her little boy, Correy. Martha DeVries, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Auke DeVries, said the water was “up to here,” as she held her hand just above her waist. She said her parents and her sister had been forced from the home when the water “just got too deep.” The DeVries also are Dutch converts.

Mrs. William D. Edwards of 1035 Brooklyn Ave. said, “We had to leave when the water came over the sandbags. They were piled five high. We had started the spring cleaning, too,” she said. “We had finished two rooms…but I guess we’ll have to start all over again.”

Beds have been put up throughout the building. Furniture saved from the flood was piled high in the basement amusement hall. Food for all the members of the five families is prepared in the church kitchen. (The Deseret News, 01 May 1952)

May 24, 1952. The ward held its welfare banquet in the stake recreational hall at the 6-7th Ward chapel on this date to raise funds to pay the annual welfare assessment. The banquet was not held in the ward because families that were affected by the flood were still living in the classrooms and their furniture was stored in the amusement hall. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Sacrament Meeting held Sunday, March 29, 1953 (Fifth Ward, A Century of Spiritual Guidance, 1853-1953. Salt Lake City, 1953)

Sep. 18, 1955. Pres. Thomas S. Monson, of the stake presidency was the speaker at the sacrament meeting. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

1957 – Mexican branch also meeting here. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

May 23 & 24, 1958. The driveway, next to the ward building, was leveled and reasphalted. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

June 6, 1958. With the leveling of the driveway it was necessary to place a wrought iron hand rail along the sidewalk. This will protect persons from stepping off the high sidewalk into the low driveway and force them to use the steps instead of cutting across the driveway. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Jan.17, 1960. Six earphones were installed on the seats on the south side of the Chapel for the use of the hard of hearing members. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Sep. 16, 1961. The middle beam on the south side of the Chapel dropped about 6 inches three weeks ago. Work was done today to repair it. Sister Marion Conrad served lunch to those who did the repairs. The past week the back stairs and one hall were carpeted along with the High Priest’s room. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Oct. 25, 1964. Liahona Branch name changed to 5th Ward in Temple View Stake. Concluding Priesthood Meeting and Sunday School were held. – Bringing to a close the activities of the original 5th Ward, transferring from the dominant Ephraim leadership and membership of the Ward of Pioneer days, to the descendants of Joseph in the physical organization of the (Lamanite) Liahona Branch. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Oct. 28, 1964. In the Jefferson Ward at a special meeting Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Council of the Twelve affected the transfer. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Feb. 13, 1966. Installation of Glass Doors from the former 14th Ward. Also Benches from the 6-7th Ward has transformed the Ward into a “new look.” (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Apr. 16, 1966. The laying of the carpet in the chapel and the classrooms was completed. The carpet from the former 14th and 6-7th Ward’s were used. Except the carpeting on the stand and the Choir which was replaced with new. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

Dec. 18, 1966. The Ward was visited by Elder Spencer W. Kimball, who had no conference assignment, and desired to come and visit the Ward. He spoke and explained the growth of the Indian Program especially the Placement Program, and the Indian Seminaries. (LDS Church History Library. LR 2850 2 Fifth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports 1849-1964 Filming 2.)

City Directory listings for 740 South 300 West
1972 – Fifth Ward Meetinghouse (LDS) – 740 S 200 W
1973 – Fifth Ward Meetinghouse (LDS) – 740 S 300 W
1974 – Fifth Ward Meetinghouse (LDS)
1975 – Vacant
1976 – Vacant
1977 – Vacant
1978 – Brantley Photography
1979 – Brantley Photography, Tios Corp (archt)
1981 – Brantley Photography, Tios Corp (archt)
1982 – Brantley Photography
1983 – Vacant
1985 – Vacant
1987 – Bodylight Center, Black Rip Photography, Cowen Nona Designs, Shar Real Estate & Invest, Graphics Services, Evertsen & Assoc, SLC Meditation Group
1989-90 – Black Rip Photography, Shar Real Estate & Invest, Great Salt Lake Nannies Inc
1993 – Black Rip Photography, Shar Real Estate & Invest, Club Starzz
1996 – Absolute Beauties, Ace Escort, Atrium, Black Rip Photography, Ginger’s, Shar Real Estate & Invest
1997 – Absolute Beauties, Ace Escort, Atrium, Black Rip Photography, Shar Real Estate & Invest
1998 – Shar Realty, homeowner and several renters
1999 – Club Fusion, Atrium, Ginger’s Escorts, Black Rip Photography, Shar Realty, homeowner and several renters
2000 – Club Fusion, Ginger’s Escorts
2001 – Club Fusion, Club Vesuvius
2004 – Sanctuary
2005 – Red Lotus School, Urgyen Samten Ling

Photo by T. Hanchett, Sept. 1978. Negative at Ut. St. Hist. Society. View of front and south side looking from southeast to northwest. (National Register of Historic Places Nomination form)

On 8 Dec 1978 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The owner of the property listed was K. Shirzad and M.A. Shaum with the building listed in ‘good’ condition. The nomination form was prepared by John S. H. Smith from the Utah State Historical Society. This most likely played a role in helping to preserve the Chapel, especially since the building had been vacant for the three years prior. Below is the text from the Nomination form.

The church is designed in the Tudor Gothic style, with Tudor window bays distinguished with corbeled arches, and the gable facades are decorated with bands of white brick alternating with bands of red. There are concrete-capped buttresses at the corners of the building, as well as between the window bays, and the deeply recessed windows feature thick mullions and splayed casings. Overall, the church is a two-story T-shaped plan with shallow, pitched gable roofs. A front addition, completed in 1937 in the same Tudor style, somewhat obscured the dramatic symbolism of the large Tudor Gothic window above the main entrance. Although retained, its visual impact was diminished. The chapel interior could hold 300 people.

In the settlement and development of the Great Basin area, the peculiar efficiency of the Mormon Church organization (likened by Samuel Clemens to the Prussian Army) was responsible for the creation of stable carraunities both in outlying settlement areas and in Salt Lake City itself. The basic ecclesiastical unit that made directed economic activity and effective social institutions possible was the “Ward.”

With an appointed Bishop at its head, the Ward functioned as an extended family offering encouragement and assistance to its members as they struggled to establish families, businesses and farms, in the arid wilderness. The significance of the Fifth Ward is that it symbolizes this vital institution.

The Fifth Ward in Salt Lake City is one of the oldest of these ecclesiastical units in the Mormon Church. Formed in 1853 on the south-west section of the growing metropolis, the community centered on farming. The Ward met first in a succession of small adobe meeting houses, but as the city grew, the area became more residential and the people engaged in a greater variety of occupations. At the height of the Ward’s strength, in 1910, it was decided to construct a new chapel. The red brick Tudor Gothic structure chosen was considered a handsome addition to the neighborhood. But even as the ward continued to grow during the World War I and between-wars period, the demography of the area was undergoing change toward light industrial development. The addition made in 1937 was intended to improve the quality of the church program by expanding the physical facilities, but the changing character of the neighborhood resulted in a steady decline in family membership.

During its existence the ward served a variety of groups, reflecting the current nature of inmigration into Salt Lake city. In the twentieth century the ward membership had a strong European immigrant flavor, that was gradually being combined with Hispanic-American. In the few years prior to the decision to sell the structures, the Fifth Ward became the Lamanite Ward to serve the needs of Salt Lake City’s urban Indian population.

Today, in the hands of private developers, the dignity of the Tudor Gothic styling is a decided asset to the ambiance of what would otherwise be an area blighted with small business houses and industrial yards. (National Register of Historic Places Nomination form)

Photo by T. Hanchett, Sept. 1978. Negative at Ut. St. Hist. Society. View of front and north side looking from northeast to southwest. (National Register of Historic Places Nomination form)

Tios Corporation architects were listed as tenants from 1979-1982. During their time in the building, they developed a modular solar building concept and applied for and received a patent as detailed below.

Inventors: Salim, Massoud A; Hamacher, Thomas L
Assignee: Tios Corporation
Issue Date: Apr 20, 1982
Application Filed: Mar 31, 1980

United States Patent 4,325,205

Abstract Text: Solar building construction utilizing a rectangular shaped module, typically square, from which a corner has been cut-off or removed. The opening left in the module by the cut-off corner is paneled and closed in with glass. The module is oriented so that the glass panel, which may include sliding or hinged glass doors, faces in a direction that is exposed to the sun for a maximum number of hours during the colder winter months when the sun is relatively low in the sky. The sun’s rays are allowed to deeply penetrate into the interior of the module through the use of open space and carefully positioned interior walls. At least some of these walls are typically perpendicular to the plane created by the glass panel. Both interior and exterior walls, and other fixtures within the modules, are realized using items having a favorable thermal mass. The solar modules thus created may be used individually, as in the case of a single solar building or they may be stacked both horizontally and vertically, thereby creating an economical and efficient solar building complex suitable for apartment houses, townhouses, condominiums, and the like. (PatentBuddy details)

According to the City Directories above, Ginger’s Escorts was one of several escort services that were housed in the building during this time. In 1996, the mayor and members of the City Council tried to initiate a ban on these types of businesses. Based on Ginger’s continuing to operate in this building during 1999/2000, it appears that the city was unsuccessful with the ban.

Will S.L. Shut Down Escorts?
“Colleen ‘Ginger’ Hussey, owner of Ginger’s Escorts in Salt Lake City said obviously the ban would hurt (she said she makes more than $150,000 a year). But she says a ban also would hurt the community. Escorts give dangerous men a way to release their sexual energy without raping or molesting, Hussey said. She also admitted that some escorts work as prostitutes but that she fires employees who offer sex for cash. Still, she doubts a ban will work.” (Salt Lake Tribune 5 Aug 1996 – page D1)

June 2, 2000 – The new club, Vesuvius, re-opened on June 2nd and seems to feature trance and techno. (

In August 2001, Area 51’s owner began leasing the building at 740 S. 300 W. and called it Club Sanctuary. The downstairs goth/industrial nights moved from Area 51 to that building during its tenure. The property was foreclosed from the club’s landlord and the bank sold the building in 2004…It had also been other clubs: Pompadour, Fusion, Club @, Confusion…Goth/industrial nights were moved back to downstairs at Area 51. (Posted by delilah on 10/27/2008 in reply to “How about some history?” on the SLC Sanctuary message board)

Club Sanctuary flyer for Saturday 13 Apr 2002

Atmosphere of Club @
Club @ is housed in a converted LDS church. The high loft ceiling and large gothic-arched windows on either side lend a spiritual atmosphere, while the club lights and dance floor leave no question that you’re in a sinful establishment. At the bar, Linda serves up a variety of soda, Sobe, and energy drinks and snacks. A row of seats lines the north and south side, on either side of the dance floor, and a lounge juts off from the main floor to the southeast, providing a good place to talk and enjoy your drinks.

The basement of Club @ features a large dance floor with 2 dancing platforms, a few smaller platforms for sitting, a lounge on the northeast corner, and another lounge at the west end of the building. A free pool table is available in the west-side lounge, as well. (

Exterior of Club @

Interior of Club @ – Phantom photos by Ryan

Interior of Club @

Tibetan Buddhist Temple (Urgyen Samten Ling Gonpa)
In 2004, with the need of a larger space, the sangha (congregation) moved the Gonpa to this beautiful historic building which was built in 1910 as the LDS Fifth Ward Meetinghouse. In recent years the building had been used as various types of nightclubs and needed much work, but with generous efforts from countless individuals within the Salt Lake community and beyond, the space was restored. (

A spiritual refuge: Tibetan Buddhist temple will be haven for worshippers
In a silent answer to ongoing Chinese government efforts to eradicate Tibetan Buddhism, a pair of local practitioners have fashioned a new temple for their faith in downtown Salt Lake City.

And though it is a world away from the shrines and monasteries of Tibet that are now threatened with extinction as places of worship, the new temple — called Urgyen Samten Ling Gonpa — will also preserve the workmanship of a Tibetan craftsman, whose singular mission since coming to Utah has been creating a large alcove for Buddha and the faith’s sacred texts.

A master wood carver, Kalsang Diwatsang has spent the past three months crafting a large altar entirely from memory, using specialized tools he has fashioned himself. Power tools aren’t part of his universe, and he likely “wouldn’t know what to do with them,” resident teacher Lama Thupten Dorje Gyaltsen says.

The enterprise adds another new bit of diversity to a state often known more for its religious uniformity. Considering that Utah’s 19th century settlers fled religious persecution, some may also find it fitting that the temple also provides a new haven for a persecuted faith whose leader, the Dalai Lama, lives and works in exile, his followers persecuted and jailed in the land of their birth if they dare practice their beliefs. Its new location — in an old LDS meetinghouse — underscores the connection.

Sitting on a busy downtown thoroughfare partially obscured by trees, the old red brick church likely wouldn’t be noticed if you weren’t looking for it. Built in 1910, the structure first housed the sacred, then the profane, and now it’s back as a spiritual refuge for those who will worship there.

Inside what was once the main chapel, one wall now serves as the centerpiece of the shrine room, complete with a golden statue of Buddha and an elevated throne for his holiness, the Dalai Lama, whose photo will rest there unless he comes to visit in person. Colorful pillows and rugs cover much of the hardwood floor, redeemed from its last incarnation as the dance floor for a Gothic nightclub that was housed there.

Years earlier, when Lama Thupten and his partner, Jean Gardner, first toured the building, even the old textured glass windows had been painted black and what carpeting there was had been “drenched with beer,” Gardner remembers. In another of its former lives, the building was home to an escort service.

Attempts to buy the place using conventional financing foundered, they said, when bank representatives would visit. “They’d just shake their heads” after walking inside.

“They couldn’t see the vision we had” amid the garbage, the grime and the grim reputation.

But volunteers relied on that vision and began cleaning inside the building in May. They pulled up carpet, replaced bathroom fixtures, scraped windows and hauled trash. As light came through the formerly darkened windows, walls were reconfigured and painted, new carpeting was installed and a golden archway was created above where the shrine now rises.

“We wanted to establish an authentic place for the development and practice of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,” Lama Thupten said, adding the temple will host Sunday “pujas,” or ceremonial meetings, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. where traditional group practice will be offered to any who care to participate.

The gatherings seek to “awaken our natural qualities of wisdom and compassion,” according to the temple’s literature. A Sunday School class for children that teaches Buddhist precepts will also be offered, along with introductory and intermediate courses in Buddhism and a variety of general meditation classes. The temple also houses two retreat rooms for those seeking a place for prolonged spiritual meditation of at least three days or more. One adherent has already spent time in contemplation there, though the temple is still being completed, they said.

Gardner said she and Lama Thupten, who married 13 years ago after studying their faith in Nepal, first established the temple 10 years ago in a 600-square foot space near Pioneer Park, along with the Red Lotus School of Movement. He teaches Wing Chun Kung-Fu, Tai chi Chu’an and Qi Gong, and she teaches toddler creative arts. The school will move into a basement studio inside the new temple, and other small non-profit tenants will also inhabit the building.

The two say their congregation of about 30 people has helped get them into the building with donations, and they’ve also done fund raising, though they don’t own the 9,000-square-foot structure. Negotiations for financing with private investors are ongoing, Gardner said, adding they are working to raise money for the purchase. They hope their grand opening celebration next week, featuring a visiting lama, will help.

While they don’t yet know how the purchase will proceed, they’ve come further with their dream than they believed possible a decade ago, so they say they’re not discouraged. “Our feeling is that it’s a juncture where spiritual pursuits and material gain clash,” Lama Thupten said. “So, we intend to establish a place of spiritual development only. We’re not looking to build a profit-making place.”

To date, their quest has inspired volunteers, who have donated what they estimate is $12,000 worth of materials and labor. Even contractors hired to work inside have put forth superior effort, they say. “We have had quality people continue to work beyond what you ask them to do. We don’t have any money, so on a hope and a prayer it’s coming together.” Programs at the center are run entirely by volunteers as well.

The Tibetan Buddhist temple is the only such facility for 800 miles in any direction, Lama Thupten said, and complements the other Buddhist congregations, including Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Zen, found in the valley.

“We are supposed to be in Salt Lake City,” he said, noting he and Gardner had contemplated settling in Seattle or Boulder, Colo., once they had completed their studies with a Tibetan Buddhist master, but he encouraged them to come to Utah.

“We’re here to add to the diversity of the community from a mind, body and spirit approach.” (Deseret News, 16 Oct 2004)

Urgyen Samten Ling provides many aspects of Buddhist practice. These include: ceremonies (pujas), group meditation, retreats and instruction in individual practice.

Ultimately, there is no truth other than direct experience. We seek to invoke and directly realize the enlightened qualities inherent in all sentient beings.

It is through study, contemplation, and meditation that we discover and embody the ever-present compassion, joy, and innate wisdom of the awakened mind.

When the body is at ease, the breath slows down and becomes peaceful. When the breath is at ease, the mind becomes peaceful and spacious. This is where you begin, look within and rest. The key is knowing how to rest.

It is our goal to develop a center that will accommodate the needs of all. Whether it’s lay practitioners, monastics, Ngakpas, or the community at large, Urgyen Samten Ling is here to serve the needs of all sentient beings without prejudice or hesitation. (

Red Lotus School of Movement

“Buddha nature is a precious gift that each of us already possess. So then, how do we find something we’ve never lost? Through practice we arrive at uncovering the innate qualities that are already within our body, speech and mind. The qualities of loving kindness and compassion which are the spontaneous expression of the Buddhas, naturally come forth when we know how to simply let go and rest in the natural state of mind.”

—Lama Thupten Dorje Gyaltsen