Church Takes Root in Sandy
This monument recalls the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Sandy area, and the three pioneer chapels that were located across the street to the east.
A few Church members had homesteaded in the low sagebrush and mesquite-covered hills of this area in the early 1870’s, but they attended organized wards outside of the area. In the fall of 1873, the Sandy area members decided to start their own group and hired a hall belonging to George Parker for $15 per month. By early winter, the group was meeting in a room of the Utah Southern Railway Depot. Their sponsor was the South Cottonwood Ward, and Isaac Harrison was set apart as the presiding elder.
It was very likely the next spring when the meeting place was changed again, this time to the home of the Andrew O. Gealta family. It was recorded that many baptisms were performed in the Gealta pond.
The same year, 1874, William Newell, William R. Scott, Harrison and Gealta purchased a small frame building that was located near the railroad depot, moved it on rails to the lot across the street and prepared it for holding church meetings. This structure was used as a chapel for eight years.
In about 1875, Newell replaced Harrison as presiding elder of the Sandy group, and he served for two years. On July 7, 1877, the group was made a branch of the newly-organized Union Ward, and John Sharp, who was away serving a mission, was called as branch president. Sharp was set apart on his return the next year. He presided until the branch was made a ward in September, 1882.
Ezekial Holman was called as the birst bishop of the Sandy Ward. His counselors were Emil Hartvicksen and Gealta. W.W. Wilson was the ward’s first clerk. They immediately launched a building program, and by January of 1883 the Sandy members were meeting in a new larger frame chapel, 40 feet long by 26 feet wide. This building served Sandy Ward members for 18 years.
(Note of interest: On a typical autumn Sunday in the 1880’s, the ward’s eight deacons would meet at the chapel at 8:00 a.m., build a fire in the stove for heating, sweep the floor and dust. Then they would run home for a “washup.” On their return they would call at Osterman’s Bakery for two or four slices of bread for the sacrament. At church, two silver goblets were used for the sacrament water, and each member had an opportunity to sip from one or the other.)
By 1893, Sandy members had again outgrown their facilities, and the foundation and basement wall for a new large brick chapel were laid. However, brick was in short supply and nothing more was done on the building for several years. Finally, in 1897, a quantity of pressed brick became available and construction of the chapel resumed. Missionaries were sent out during this period for the sole purpose of raising funds for the building.
The elegant brick chapel was finished in 1900 (see drawing), just in time for the first conference of the new Jordan Stake. New Stake President Orrin P. Miller conducted overflow meetings both Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6. Sandy’s first LDS brick chapel was used and enjoyed for six decades. It was torn down and the ground cleared only after the Sandy First and Second Wards completed a modern new chapel at another location in 1960.