Historic Buildings, NRHP, Orem, Provo, Tithing Offices, utah, utah county
Lakeview Tithing Office/Bunnell Creamery
The Lakeview Tithing Office was originally constructed as a creamery by Leslie L. Bunnell in 1899. Leslie and his father, Stephen I. Bunnell, operated a successful dairy operation for a number of years, and this creamery served as the headquarters of their business, which involved making and selling cheese and butter, as well as selling milk. It was the first creamery in Lakeview, a small, unincorporated farming community located between Provo and Utah Lake. The 16’x 16′ room on the west side of the creamery served as the home for the family, which included five children, until 1904, when the adjacent house was built. Soon after that, the Bunnells sold the creamery to the Lakeview Ward of the LDS church for use as a tithing office. The west room was used as an office and the east room served as a storage area for grain and other tithing commodities. The Bunnell family bought the tithing office/creamery back around 1920 and used it for a granary. Occasionally, the west room was used as a residence the last time was during World War II, when a single man lived there for several months. Currently the building is used for storage by the Bunnells.
The Lakeview Tithing Office, built in 1899, is historically significant as one of 28 well preserved tithing buildings in Utah that were part of the successful tithing system of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon church) between the 1850s and about 1910. Tithing lots, which usually included an office and several auxiliary structures, were facilities for collecting, storing, and distributing the farm products that were donated as tithing by church members in the cash-poor agricultural communities throughout the state. Tithing offices were a vital part of almost every Mormon community, serving as local centers of trade, welfare assistance, and economic activity. They were also important as the basic units of the church-wide tithing network that was centered in Salt Lake City.
The Lakeview Tithing Office is a one story brick building with a combination gable and hip roof, a stone foundation, and a false front. There is a chimney three quarters of the way down the ridge line. The false front is typical of small town commercial buildings at the turn of the century, as is the corbelling of its upper edge, the jigsaw cut decorative elements in the wooden arches over the facade openings, and the rock-faced shoulder arches over the same openings. The false front is stepped. The facade openings consist of a door centered between two windows. Behind the lower step of the false front on the east side of the building is an extension off the main block of the building. It is a rectangular room with a shed roof and rear entrance, and is situated under the eaves of the main roof. It was probably part of the original construction. According to information in a 1975 Utah Historic Sites Inventory form, it is likely that the room was used to house a boiler that powered the machinery of the creamery. The building has received no major alterations, is in fair condition and maintains its original integrity.
- Tithing Offices
- Lakeview, Utah
- Historic Registration Form (# 85000289)
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Susan Malone said:
I find it interesting that you focus on the title of this building as “Lakeview Tithing Office” (first) rather than “Bunnell Creamery” (first). It was built by the Bunnell family as a creamery in the first place. It spent most of it’s “life” owned by the Bunnell family (105 years) and only 16 years owned by the Church and used as a tithing office. Wouldn’t it more historically accurate to call it the Bunnell Creamery- or even “Bunnell Creamery/ TIthing Office”? Is there some ulterior motive in the name of this property?
The historical information was interesting, and the photos were lovely. Thank you for your work to bring that to light and share it.
I do have an issue however with something you wrote: “The building has received no major alterations” (that part is obvious), but I find it appalling that you try to assert: “is in fair condition and maintains its original integrity.”
I drive past it several times a week, and I would not say the building is in fair condition or that it maintains its original integrity. If that is all the integrity the building had when it was built in 1899 (121 years ago), then it was built poorly to begin with (no offense to Leslie Bunnell)
I grew up in Massachusetts, and even owned a home that was 150 years old (at that time). That home was in fair condition and maintained it’s original integrity. This building is falling apart, and I fear is past the point of repair. I LOVE historical buildings, but this one looks like it should be torn down. I see so many signs of loss of integrity (cracks in the brickwork, corners falling away, support structures caving in) that would cost a fortune to try to reverse, if it is even possible.
To make an effort to maintain it’s presently poor integrity, the owners should remove all of the trees that are surrounding it (they are all too close to the building and are damaging it). They should remove all vine growth, because they are damaging the brickwork integrity (vines have aerial roots that destroy mortar), they should repair and cover the area where the roof caved in. They should replace all broken glass to prevent further wood rot and damage. It also looks like there is very little (if any) life left in that roof, and it should be replaced to prevent further damage.
In it’s present condition it is clear that no one is interested in preserving this building. I would imagine that the historical designation was motivated by a desire to keep the building there to prevent a land grab of that piece of ground to widen Geneva Rd. It seems like it was all about protecting family owned land from eminent domain, not about preserving an historical building. If anyone cared about preserving this historical building why haven’t they at least done the basics? When those trees first began to grow it would have been free to remove them- just take a shovel. When those vines began to grow- same thing. When a window was broken, why wasn’t it repaired? It has been an historical building since 1975- for 45 years now. In light of the fact that the owners are doing nothing to try to preserve it’s history, including basic property maintenance, it does not deserve it’s historical designation. It is just private property that has been neglected for far too long, and is falling apart.
That is a disgrace.
Jacob Barlow said:
As far as the title/name, that is simply what the National Register of Historic Places named it when they added it. I just followed their lead.
As far as the “no major alterations” and “fair condition” I was was quoting the National Register, it’s fairly standard verbage that they almost always use when they list a property. They probably didn’t think much about it and obviously didn’t put as much thought into as you did in this very well written comment. Thank you for your contribution.