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2017-11-25 12.38.50

The site of the first Chapel in Lehi, Utah.

Site of the first meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lehi, Built in 1855. Replaced in 1972. Also used for civic meetings and upper rooms for school.

This marker commemorates the ancient, beloved old “Lehi Meeting House” built in 1855 that served the community and church for 96 years.

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In 1855 Lehi Ward Bishop Evans announced plans to erect a new meeting
house to replace the old log one. The site for the new structure was the southwest
corner of present First South and Second West, then the center of Lehi’s fort. A
committee, including James Harwood as assessor and collector, was appointed
under the chairmanship of Daniel S. Thomas. A community­wide tax of $1.50
per $100 valuation was assessed. One dollar was to be paid in labor and 50c in
grain.

Some men worked off their labor assessment felling trees in West Canyon.
The saw timber was then taken to mills in alpine and processed into planks,
shingles, joists, pillars, and other needed lumber. Additional workers labored in
the limestone quarry at Zion’s Hill on the Lake Mountains. Hundreds of tons of
rock were required for the building’s massive sixty­by­forty­foot foundation.
Most men, however, worked in the adobe pits south of the present Lehi Roller
Mills where thousands of the sun­baked bricks were required for the
eighteen­inch thick walls.

The construction of the Meeting House required five years. Everything
was made locally except the glass and hardware items, which were freighted from
the East. By the fall of 1855 the building was beginning to take form.
Although all men in the ward were required to work on the building, the
craftsmen who actually supervised the project included adobe makers William W.
Taylor, William B. Rigby, and Abel Evans; masons J. Wiley Norton and a Mr.
Howe; carpenters Thomas Ashton, Lorenzo Hatch, and Hyland D. Wilcox; and
plasterer William Clark.

The building was finally finished in the fall of 1860, though it was never
formally dedicated. The main entrance to the Meeting House fronted to the east
on Second West. Double doors opened into a twelve­by­forty­foot anteroom. A
stairwell to the gallery and the second­story school and prayer room was in the
south end of the anteroom.

The auditorium was forty-­eight by thirty-­six feet. The ceiling and second
floor were supported by eight twenty­foot pillars which were arranged so that the
first two on the east supported the gallery and the last two on the west defined the
speakers stand and the pulpit.

A large potbellied stove provided the auditorium’s heat though,
unfortunately, only the immediate area surrounding the stove offered real warmth
in the dead of winter. This spot was reserved for the ward’s elderly women, their
personal rocking chairs arranged around the stove.

The building’s seating capacity was five hundred, including the gallery.
This “balcony,” as many church members called it, was primarily for the choir’s
use. Above the gallery and auditorium was a second­story attic area which
contained two rooms. The largest was used for school until the 1863 completion
of the Southwest School (Thurman). It also served for a time as the city council
chamber. The smaller room was called the Quorum or Prayer Circle Room
because of the special Priesthood functions held there.

In 1903 when Lehi was divided into four ecclesiastical wards, the Meeting
House became the chapel of the new Lehi First Ward. In 1915 the old thurman
School, which stood just a few feet west of the Meeting House, was remodeled
into a ward amusement hall. The partition dividing the building into two rooms
was removed and a maple floor laid. A musician’s stand was erected in one end,
and the $600 project became a dance hall. From 1936 until 1949, major
renovations were made in the building. The old Meeting House was converted
into an amusement hall. The pillars, balcony, and partition wall near the front
entrance were removed and a stage was built on the west end. This remodeling
project combined the Meeting House and the historic Thurman School into a
single building. A new chapel was built to the south.

In 1972 the entire building, including the Meeting House was demolished.
A new $361,000 chapel was completed on this site. The following year the local
Sons of the Utah Pioneers, under the direction of Virgil Peterson, dedicated a
historical marker on the site of the original Meeting House.

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