Some of the history of the chapels in Enterprise, Utah
The Enterprise First Meetinghouse was built in 1898 and is now the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum.
The Enterprise Second Meetinghouse was built in 1913 and served as both the church and school.
The Enterprise Third Meetinghouse was built in 1957.
(*) The Enterprise Meetinghouse, completed in 1899, is locally significant as the first church building and the first school building in the 1895 pioneer community of Enterprise. Some of the religious and educational functions continued in the historic meetinghouse until the 1950s, decades after completion of the adjacent LDS meetinghouse in 1913. It now serves as a museum and meeting hall for the local chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, a group dedicated to the preservation of pioneer memorabilia and buildings. The Enterprise Meetinghouse is architecturally significant as one of approximately a dozen remaining “Period I” (settlement phase) LDS meetinghouses that also retain their integrity, as described in the National Register multiple property listing, “Mormon Church Buildings in Utah, 1847-1936.”
The 1899 Enterprise Meetinghouse is located at the intersection of Main and Center Streets in Enterprise, Utah, and is about 50 feet from both roads on a block originally dedicated to both religious and civic structures. Known at one time as the “Public Square,” it now also contains the two subsequent IDS meetinghouses built in 1913 and 1952, south of the first meetinghouse. The remainder of the landscaped block is used as a park and mature trees surround the buildings.
The 1899 meetinghouse is approximately 24 by 38 feet in plan with the narrow entry/gable end facing east toward Center Street. The building rests on a stone foundation built from local igneous rubble. The walls are built of multiple wythe, locally produced, reddish-brown brick laid in a stretcher or running bond. Only the first course above the foundation is comprised entirely of headers.
The only opening in the east elevation is a single paneled wood door beneath a shallow segmental arch formed by two courses of headers with a dog-tooth course between. Unique diamond-shaped brick blocks terminate each end of the arch. The historic keystone block of unknown design has been removed and replaced with brick. A larger, horizontal diamond element is also formed in the brick above the entry. These brick elements comprise the only overt decorative elements on the building.
The original Enterprise Meetinghouse maintains its architectural integrity although it has received some minor alterations and suffers from brick deterioration. The north and south elevations have three evenly spaced windows beneath simple segmental brick arches. Each window is comprised of four horizontal lights and are not original. Judging from the proportions, the historic windows were probably double hung sash. The west (rear) elevation has a single paneled wood door placed to the far north side. At the south edge, a strip of the reddish-brown stucco that covers the entire south side of the building is visible. This stucco was probably applied
in an attempt to repair the deteriorating brick which is apparently being damaged by rising damp. The roof, covered in non-historic asphalt shingles, is a moderately pitched clipped gable. The painted eaves are fairly shallow and continue with a simply detailed frieze around the entire building.
The interior of this single-room building was always very modest in design — an historic photo shows only a tall wainscot painted on plaster walls. Currently, the only historic interior material visible is the flat, painted beadboard ceiling. The walls were paneled, the windows draped, and the floor covered with a large woven rag rug in the 1970s. The hanging light fixtures are of a simple institutional design and are perhaps 50 years old. A slightly raised platform at the west end was removed many years ago. Today the building is used to house pioneer memorabilia and functions as a meeting hall for the local chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Current repair plans include re-roofing and landscape alterations to minimize moisture near the building and hopefully slow the deterioration of the brick.
The settlement by Mormon pioneers (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS church) of the area now known as Utah’s Dixie, located in the extreme southwest corner of the state, commenced in 1861, fourteen years after their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. LDS apostle Erastus Snow was appointed to preside over this effort known as the Dixie Mission. As the immediate area was very arid and not suitable to raising stock, President Snow called John and William Pulsipher to take the surplus cattle and horses and find adequate range. Early in the spring of 1862 they started north with their herd. After two areas proved to be inadequate, the Pulsipher brothers, in May 1862, moved their herd further north from
the Santa Clara Creek to Shoal Creek where grass was plentiful and settled near its mouth by some springs. This camp grew over the next few years becoming the community of Hebron. A small fort was built and other settlers arrived, primarily from the St. George area, about 40 miles to the south. On November 7, 1869, Hebron was organized into an LDS ward (congregation). To the dismay of other interested settlers, Hebron claimed and utilized much of the available water in the area.
In 1891 the Enterprise townsite was laid out although water disagreements with Hebron continued. In 1892 Orson Huntsman developed a plan to impound the flood waters of Shoal Creek. Huntsman and others traveled throughout Washington County trying to interest people in this scheme. The Enterprise Reservoir and Canal Company was formed on September 12, 1983 and the Enterprise dam was started on October 26, 1893, but work was slow and partially limited to the winter months when farms did not require as much attention. The Enterprise Dam was not completed until October 30, 1909.
In December 1895 J.B. Morris was the first to move on to the new Enterprise
townsite; others soon followed. The Mormon colonizers began to plan for a school for their children and a church house. The first church meetings in Enterprise were held on May 1, 1898 at the home of William W. Hall. It was conducted as a branch (i.e., dependent congregation) of the Hebron Ward.
On June 12, 1898 a citizen’s meeting was called to discuss the erection of a new brick building to be used as a church and a school house. A letter was read from William Marshall offering to make the brick and construct the meetinghouse for $300 if the towns people would furnish the common labor. This bid was accepted and by September 21, 1898 a stone foundation had been constructed on the town square in the northeast corner of the block by William (John?) Weaver of Washington (City) and the brick was being “burned” in Marshall’s kiln which was also producing brick for other
residences. Much of the masonry work for the entire building was done by Weaver. The rest of the building was constructed primarily with donated labor and materials. John Day, the postmaster, donated the nails and the original windows for the building. The Thomas S. Terry family, who lived eleven miles west of Enterprise on their ranch, was unable to make the trip very often to work on the building so they donated produce to be sold to help with the expense of the lumber and other building materials. The first meeting in the new meetinghouse was held in 1899.
Concurrent with their religious efforts the dozen or so families in Enterprise started a school in early 1899 in a private home with Sophia Forsythe from nearby Pinto employed as teacher at a salary of $20 per month. Before the next school year ended they moved into the newly completed meetinghouse.
On November 17, 1902 the Pine Valley earthquake struck the area. It seemed to be more severe at Hebron than elsewhere and practically all the brick and stone buildings were badly damaged. (Water and erosion problems had also previously beset the community.) Soon after the earthquake the people of Hebron decided to abandon their community and sell their water to the Enterprise company. George A. Holt was the last bishop of Hebron and the first when the ward was changed to Enterprise in 1905. The Hebron community brought their old church bell with them to the Enterprise Ward. Since the meetinghouse did not have a bell tower, the bell was placed on a pole at the side of the building and from there it called the faithful to church and the children to school as well as sounding in an emergency. The meetinghouse was also known as the Young Mens Mutual hall (the LDS youth organization) and a platform was built in the west end of the building so that plays could be produced there for the town’s enjoyment.
By 1912 the Enterprise IDS Ward had outgrown the original meetinghouse and it was decided to build a larger building immediately to the south of the original building. The first meetings were held in this new rock-faced concrete block building on April 13, 1913. The school classes were also moved to the basement of the new building.
On January 27, 1922 a new school building was completed and the school moved to it from the 1913 church although some classes had reportedly remained in the historic 1899 meetinghouse until 1919. Further growth lead to a modern brick church building that was completed in 1952 on the southeast corner of the square and is still in use. The 1913 meetinghouse has served many functions and is now used as a senior citizens center. The three side-by-side meetinghouses present a unique view of over a half century of LDS church architecture.
Following completion of the 1913 building, the Relief Society (the LDS women’s organization) of Enterprise continued to use the 1899 church building for their meetings. They planted evergreen trees and hand watered them to get the landscaping started on the ground around the historic meetinghouse. After the Relief Society discontinued the use of the building in 1953 it was used for a time as an office for the Enterprise Reservoir and Canal Company, but following this use, the building began to fall into limited use and general disrepair.
A meeting was held in the late summer of 1958 to decide the fate of the old
meetinghouse. The local chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) felt that the building should be preserved and they offered to care for the building if the church would grant them the use of the building. This arrangement was made and on February 6, 1959 the DUP held their first meeting in the old meetinghouse and began their renovations. [Ownership of the site was later transferred to the City of Enterprise, the present recorded owner.] New windows were installed by Jolley Cabinet Shop of St. George, January 13, 1959 for $146.45. In May 1959 Art Whitlock was hired to paint the building [perhaps trim or interior] for $45.00; paint and other expenses were $48.59. New screens were installed by Jolley’s for $40.00.
Preston Robinson hauled in several loads of top soil for $25.00. Grass, hoses and sprinklers were purchased for $22.33 and a lawn was planted. The floor was replaced and rags were gathered and prepared for an old fashioned rag rug. Most of the rug was finished by the winter of 1961 and it was installed in December 1962.
The concrete steps in front of the building were put in August 1970. It was
discussed whether or not to have the outside of the building stuccoed to “help in keeping the building warm” [although the deteriorating brick must have also been a concern by then]. Instead, it was decided to “spray” the building. In August 1979 it was sprayed and sealed by Warren Brinkerhoff at a cost of $440.00 for material and labor. [It is likely that the stucco on the side wall was also installed at this time.] The paneling and electric wall heaters were installed c. 1975. The first wood burning stove that was used in the old building now stands as an artifact in the northeast corner of the building. An oil stove replaced this stove in the center of the single room until the c. 1975 remodeling.
The Pilot Peak Camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers plans to continue its
preservation and repair of the historic meetinghouse. Besides housing pioneer memorabilia, regular meetings and other functions are held in the building.
Several early LDS building types are presented in the Multiple Property Submission, “Mormon Church Buildings in Utah, 1847-1936” including tithing offices, granaries and Relief Society buildings. While the Enterprise Meetinghouse was not built originally for the local Relief Society, it is similar in scale to several such buildings constructed near the turn of the century. However, the Enterprise Meetinghouse is definitely significant within the context “Mormon Meetinghouses and Tabernacles, 1847-1936,” and more specifically within the first or settlement phase. This period typically ended in the 1870s in most areas of territory, but similar Period I type meetinghouses were often the initial religious building type constructed in settlements that were founded much later, as is the case in Enterprise.
The continued use of this Period I type meetinghouse from early pioneer-era Utah is somewhat uncommon, as is the building’s survival — only about twenty examples of this meetinghouse type remain and nearly half have lost their architectural integrity due to alterations. The historic dual use of the Enterprise Meetinghouse as a public school reflects the growing importance of education at the turn of the century. Although the building was originally owned and used by the LDS church, it is no longer owned by a church nor used for religious functions.