Torrey Log School and Church
On September 18, 1898, construction began on the Torrey log church, later used also as a school. Local settlers furnished labor, cash, and materials for this unique log structure with its steep hip roof, flared eaves, square bell tower on the entry side, and a pink sandstone foundation. On December 19, 1898, school opened in this 21 X 37 foot, one-room building for students of Torrey and the surrounding ranches. This multi-purpose building was used for dances and other activities, including civic, social, and religious meetings until two, red sandstone buildings were constructed, one for a school and one for a church. However, use of this original log building continued both by the LDS Church and the community until the 1970s.
In the fall of 1990, the Church deeded the old, log building to the local Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Camp Radiare, with the provision that it was to be moved from Church property. Since that date, the building has received major restoration and renovation. This one-of-a-kind structure will continue to be used for religious, civic, and educational functions.
This is Daughters of Utah Pioneers historic marker #494, placed in 1996 and located at 59 East Main Street in Torrey, Utah.
Torrey Log Church and Schoolhouse
The Torrey Log Church/Schoolhouse, completed in 1898, is locally significant as the first church building and the first school building in the pioneer community of Torrey, settled in the 1890s. After a new multi-use building with classrooms was built in 1917 and a new meetinghouse was constructed in 1928, the Torrey Log Church/Schoolhouse continued to be used for various religious and social functions until the 1970s.
The building is architecturally significant as one of approximately one dozen remaining Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouses built within the initial settlement phase. It is the only known example of a log meetinghouse still standing in the state. The building is made of sawn logs joined at the corners with carefully executed half-dovetailed notching. The building was relocated approximately 100 yards to the west to make room for the expansion of the neighboring 1928 sandstone meetinghouse. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers have restored the building and are using it as a place to hold local meetings, continuing its traditional use for religious and social functions.
Building a Community
From Water to Electricity
Fremont River water also powered Torrey’s first electricity, which arrived in 1929. Recalling those days, Torrey resident Clay Robinson wrote, “When January rolled around the night temperatures often dropped below zero. Water flowing through the canal… into the power plant would turn to ice, curtailing the stream. The generating turbine would slow. The electric bulbs in our house would flicker. Light in the room would fade into a twilight, brighten momentarily, then zoom into total darkness.”
Big Apple Pavilion
During the Great Depression, the Lee family built an open air dance hall in an apple orchard on Main Street. They held boxing matches there, drawing people from all over Wayne County. After each match, people danced under the stars. The restored pavilion remains a gathering place for community events.
Securing Water for Torrey
Water is the lifeblood of any settlement, and Torrey settlers encountered great challenges in their efforts to secure a steady water supply. Though they found a culinary spring up on Thousand Lake Mountain, a wide lava field separated it from the town site. Around 1900, settlers built a flume of hand-hewn logs to carry the water over the lava bed into a ditch and down the 10,000-foot mountain into Torrey. Residents still rely on Thousand Lake Mountain springs for their drinking water.
Around 1900, settlers also began digging a canal to divert water from the Fremont River for irrigation. Fifteen years later, they completed the 11-mile canal. Robert Peden, a Scottish stone mason, cut a 500-foot section of the ditch through a solid rock shelf, using a pick-ax and mule, a project that took him 6 years to finish. This same canal provides Torrey’s irrigation water today.
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