Built in 1908, the Fairview Tithing Office 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 Fairview Tithing Office was built in 1908 to serve as the new tithing office for the Fairview Ward. Also located on the tithing lot were a barn, granaries, and corrals to keep the farm products and livestock that were donated as tithing to the church. None of those buildings or structures are still standing. This building has three rooms on the main floor and a basement, in which was stored fresh produce, eggs, hams, etc. A safe for storing the cash tithing was located in the rear room on the right side, and the two front rooms were used as the bishop’s office and for bishop’s meetings.
Approval to construct the Fairview Tithing Office was received in March 1908 from the Presiding Bishopric’s Office of the LDS church by Bishop James C. Peterson of the Fairview Ward. His request of the previous year, “for a tithing office for the Fairview Ward similar to that built at Fountain Green,” was denied because the tithing office construction fund for that year had already been exhausted. 1 The Fairview Tithing Office, which was completed in either late 1908 or early 1909, was constructed at a cost of just over $2000.
The design of the Ephraim Tithing Office was one of at least two standard
tithing office plans that were developed at church headquarters around 1905 and sent out to a number of wards in the state that requested to have a new tithing office built. Those plans were perhaps the first examples of what eventually became a policy with the church – developing standard building plans at church headquarters rather than having each ward generate its own. Other tithing offices in the state that have virtually the same design as the Fairview Tithing Office, referred to as “tithing office no. 2,” are those in Garland, Ephraim, Fountain Green, and Spring City.
In 1932, the tithing office was apparently no longer needed by the Fairview Ward, so it was sold to Henry A. Rasmussen, who has lived there ever since.
The Fairview Tithing Office is a one story square red brick building with a
coursed sandstone foundation and a pyramid roof. It was designed from one of at least three standard plans which were created for tithing offices about 1905, two of which have been identified. The plan type of the Fairview Tithing Office has been identified as Type No. 2, and is almost identical to the design of the Ephraim, Spring City, Fountain Green, and Garland Tithing Offices. Typical of this particular design is the asymmetrical facade divided into equal halves by a simple buttress. One half consists of an arched porch set into the southeast corner. The other half is composed of three double hung sash windows. There is a large sandstone block centered over the buttress. Inside the porch a door is centered between two double hung sash windows. There is a second smaller arched opening at the east end of the porch. In addition there is a door flanked by two windows on the east wall, and a single window is set into the west wall. All of the windows and doors have sandstone sills and lintels. Triangular vents are centered on the front and back roof sections, and there are dormers on the east and west roof sections. Dormers were not a standard element on tithing offices of this type, and they may represent a later addition. They complement the building in scale and massing, and therefore are an unobtrusive addition. Except for the possible addition of the dormers, the Fairview Tithing Office is unaltered on the exterior and maintains its original integrity.