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Sandy Second Ward Chapel

This Classical Revival structure was built by Joseph Don Carlos Young, noted LDS Church architect, in 1921. Andrew Hansen, a local farmer and builder, supervised the construction. The cost of the chapel was $20,000. It was dedicated December 11, 1927, by LDS Apostle George Albert Smith.

The Sandy Second Ward Chapel was built during a time of emphasis on multiple-use buildings and architectural experimentation. The building combines a large chapel area, classrooms, and recreation space. The building was converted to a Baptist church in 1962 and is still being used for religious worship. It retains its historic integrity and remains in excellent condition.

Located at 8630 South 60 East in Sandy, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#97000638) on July 9, 1997

The Sandy Second Ward Chapel, built in 1921, is being nominated under two contexts:
1) Mormon Meetinghouses and Tabernacles in Utah, 1847-1936; and
(2) Historic Resources of Sandy City: Specialized Agriculture, Small Business and Community Development Period, 1906-1946.
The Classical Revival structure combines a large chapel area, classrooms, and recreation space. The chapel represents the third phase of Mormon (LDS) meetinghouse building during which there was an emphasis on multiple-use buildings and architectural experimentation. The architect, Joseph Don Carlos Young, was serving as the official LDS Church architect at the time he designed this building. The chapel is of local significance as the only surviving historic LDS chapel in Sandy. The building was converted to a Baptist church in 1962 and is still being used for religious worship. The chapel retains its historic integrity and remains in excellent historic condition.

The Sandy Second Ward Chapel is located near State Street, northwest of Sandy’s historic downtown. The area was originally collection of small farms. The property was purchased from LeGrande Young by Josephine Jensen in October 1893. She sold it five months later to M.L. Freed. The taxes were not paid so it was taken over by the county until sometime before 1921 when Morinda Lundberg, a postmistress in Sandy redeemed it and donated it to the Sandy Second Ward.

At the turn of the century, the congregation of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) church members had only one meetinghouse, a gothic revival style structure completed in 1897. As the town’s LDS population grew, mostly due to the number of second generation church members, it became necessary to divide the congregation. On January 1, 1921, church officials decided to create the Sandy Second and Third Wards. The First Ward continued to meet in the 1897 meetinghouse, and the Second Ward began to hold their meetings in the local school.

The Second Ward began almost immediately to build their own meetinghouse. The cost of the structure was $20,000. The architect was Joseph Don Carlos Young, LDS church architect. Local farmer and builder, Andrew Hansen supervised construction.

The chapel was dedicated December 11, 1927 by George Albert Smith. James P. Jensen was the first Bishop with counselors, A.R. Gardner and Robert Larsen. G. Leonard Ohlson was clerk. Clyde Swenson was chairman of the building committee. The first bishopric served sixteen years.

As an LDS meetinghouse, the building saw little modification. On December 17, 1924, an electrical fire reportedly caused $1,000 damage to the chapel. 19 Additional lots with residences were acquired in 1950. The residences were perhaps used by the Second Ward for additional meeting space. Within a decade, the building was considered inadequate for the growing congregation. A new building was constructed large enough to house both the First, the Second and the 13th Wards, and was officially dedicated on March 27, 1966.

The building and grounds of the old Second Ward Chapel were deeded to the Anchor Baptist Church on May 7, 1962. The Anchor Baptist Church used for six years, during which time, they were constructing a new building on 5600 South near Highland Drive. They could not handle the financial obligations of both buildings. On May 17, 1968, the property was deeded to the Baptist Mid Missions Inc., and a congregation of Berean Baptists currently uses the building.


The Neoclassical, or Classical Revival, style enjoyed many years of popularity in Utah and the rest of the United States. Between 1900-1925, buildings such as banks, courthouses, post offices and churches employed the Greek and Roman classical motifs.

More conservative than the contemporary Beaux Arts Classicism, neoclassical buildings were usually symmetrical, monumental forms with facades highlighted by colonnades and porticos. The Sandy Second Ward Chapel is a relatively simple version of the style, but the building includes several distinguishing elements: the raised basement, the Tuscan columns at the entry, the arched windows, the parapet and the accentuated keystones. 22 The chapel is a unique interpretation of the style with an asymmetrical curving façade (which pre-dates the Art Moderne movement by nearly a decade).


Joseph Don Carlos Young was born on May 6, 1855. He was the son of Brigham Young and Emily Dow Partridge Young, and was one of the first native Utahns to be formally educated in architecture. He attended the Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in New York. Joseph Don Carlos Young designed a number of commercial and residential buildings in Salt Lake City, but is primarily remembered as one of the official architects of the LDS Church (c. 1883-1930). He directed the completion of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple and designed the LDS Church Office Building (now known as the administration building). He took a part in designing several LDS Chapels. Young utilized a variety of styles, but primarily designed Neo-Classical and Renaissance Revival buildings. The Sandy Second Ward Chapel represents a relatively simple and refined statement of his work. Joseph Don Carlos Young died in 1938.

Narrative Description:

The Sandy Second Ward Chapel, built in 1921, is located at the corner of 8640 South and 60 East in Sandy City. The current address of the building is 8630 South 60 East. The building is located on the southeast corner of a 0.77 acre property. Two residences are also on the property, but do not contribute to the historic significance of the chapel. The building has received only minor exterior and interior alterations since its original construction.

The building is constructed of dark maroon brick on a concrete foundation. In plan, the structure is L-shaped, with the longer end, approximately 90 feet, running parallel to 8640 South. The shorter end is approximately 45 feet and is parallel to 60 East. The main entrance is at the curved intersection of the two sides, and is accessed by ten curvilinear concrete steps. The exterior brick walls rise from a plastered concrete foundation and water table to a parapet which runs along the street facades of the building. The parapet hides the two intersecting gables of the asphalt-shingled roof.

The parapet is capped by a coping of rowlock brick. Two feet below the parapet is a metal cornice. A rowlock course of brick is found directly belong the cornice. A second cornice extends over the main entrance and is supported by four columns. The visual line of this cornice is continued around the building by a course of soldier brick. Three courses of brick, one header and two stretcher, are “punched out” and circle the building at the window arches.

The building elevation is divided into bays by thirteen large round arched windows. The window arches are of rowlock brick and accented by lug sills, impost blocks, and keystones made of a cast aggregate resembling granite. The original windows had sixteen panes and hinged at the bottom to open inward. The semi-circular windows were “spoked” with wooden muntins. The windows were replaced in the 1980s by one-over-one fixed windows and the arches have been filled in with vinyl lap siding. The main entrance was originally two doors under an elliptical arch, also accented with a keystone and impost blocks. They have been replaced by a single door with sidelights. The fanlight over the doors was replaced by a single sheet of glass in 1980s, but has been more recently covered by plywood.

The most prominent Classical elements on the building are the four columns at the main entrance (two of which are currently hidden by a pair of large evergreens). The columns are made of the same granite-like cast aggregate and are Tuscan with a slight entassis. The only other decorative elements are two signs which read “Berean Baptist Church”. One is above the main door and the other is on the otherwise blank west wall under an elliptical arch. According to the Pastor Wesley Clem, the original stained glass window in that space was removed (date unknown).

Another blocked window is also on the west side at basement level. The other basement windows are used, though the glass and frames have been replaced. Two exterior doors, one on 8640 South and the other at the rear, access the basement level.

The main floor of the building is above a raised basement and has three sections: foyer, classrooms and chapel space. The main entrance originally opened to a wedge-shaped vestibule and a foyer with a high ceiling. The vestibule was partitioned to make closet space and a pair of windowed doors was installed at the foyer entrance in 1995. Access to the chapel from the foyer is through a pair of doors to the west. At the south is a staircase with one landing to the lower level, while on the east wall is a door leading to a small office. On the north side of the foyer are two doors leading to classrooms. Some type of door, possibly a folding door, originally allowed the rooms to be made one large room, but the opening has been blocked. One corner of each room has been converted to a closet.

Entrance to the chapel from the foyer was through a large, arched opening now enclosed by two doors, installed in the 1980s. The chapel floor slopes two feet from the back to the front of the chapel. The space of the chapel has changed little since the original construction, although a major remodeling of the pulpit area took place when the Baptist congregation modified the chapel for their worship services in the 1960s. The original pews were removed and replaced by others in the 1980s. Drywall has been applied to the interior walls of the chapel and the windows no longer appeared arched from the inside. The drywall also covers a row of stenciling which decorated the chapel. The ceiling has been sprayed with asbestos and the lighting fixtures have been updated. Insulation materials were added to the majority of the main floor rooms at the same time the drywall was applied during the 1980s.

A second arch spans the podium area. The original molding and a plaster dove in relief at the center of the arch are still intact. The arched opening was originally flanked by dark wood Tuscan columns and a pair of heavy curtains. The columns have been removed and the sides enclosed as dressing rooms for the baptismal font. An original staircase down to the basement level is now accessed from the south dressing room. Another staircase leads to the rim of the baptismal font. The font area was constructed in 1969. Previous to that date, the building had no font. The baptismal font was built at the back of the podium and can be partially viewed by the congregation through a arched opening. The back of the font, as well as the floor and walls of the dressing rooms, is tiled in squares of beige.

Above the font is a Latin cross tiled in a slightly darker color. The ceiling above the font has a latticework screen which is original.

The basement runs the full length of the building. The balustrades of both staircases are original, as are the doors and much of their hardware. There was originally one restroom, with a dirt floor, at the east end of the basement. The room was enlarged by excavation and made into two restrooms. Under the foyer area are two classrooms and two closets, all finished in drywall. Similar work is in progress in the classrooms and hallway under the chapel. A large room, probably recreational space, is at the west end. This space originally could be enlarged by some type of folding door leading to the classrooms, now blocked as well.

The ceiling of the basement was originally sloped to match the floor above. A drop ceiling is currently being installed to give a space a uniform ceiling height. Under the podium and font are storage rooms.

The building occupies the southeast corner of a 0.77 acre property. Associated with the building currently, but not during the historic period, are two residences at the northwest corner. The front building (8595 South 40 East) is a 1950s cottage used as housing for the Berean Baptist missionaries. The back building (8597 South 40 East) is reportedly from the 1880s and is currently the home of the associate pastor. This building has been altered substantially. Both are white with lap siding.

There are two small aluminum sheds next to the back residence. A large gravel parking area adjoins the houses. The rest of the property is landscaped with grass. An irrigation ditch runs along the north side of the site. A smaller, disused ditch is on the east. Sidewalks are found on the south and west sides. Four large evergreens flank the entrance. A row of poplars has recently been planted along the east side of the site.

Historic Context: Mormon Meetinghouses and Tabernacles in Utah, 1847-1936

The history of Utah is closely tied to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More commonly known as Mormons, members of the church played a significant role in the early settlement and subsequent growth of the state of Utah. It is not surprising therefore that the religious buildings of the Mormons comprise one of the principal segments of the state’s architectural heritage. Within the larger theme of Mormon religious architecture, eight specific historic contexts have been identified [See the Multiple Property Submission, Mormon Church Buildings in Utah. 1847-1936]. The Sandy Second Ward Chapel is significant within the third phase of the context “Mormon Meetinghouses and Tabernacles, 1847-1936”.

The most common types of nineteenth-century Mormon religious buildings were the meetinghouses and tabernacles. Designed as assembly halls for regular Sunday services, these buildings differed principally in size and scale. Tabernacles were typically large buildings with a seating capacity sufficient to accommodate the membership of several LDS wards, with wards being the smallest unit of ecclesiastical jurisdiction within the LDS Church. Smaller Mormon towns consisted of a single ward, while the larger communities were subdivided into several such districts. Every ward had a meetinghouse, or ward meetinghouse. Wards were further organized into larger geographical groupings called stakes, and usually (though not always (each stake had its own tabernacle. Tabernacles and meetinghouses were generally placed in a central location within the gridiron plan of the Mormon town. There are approximately 20 tabernacles and 237 meetinghouses remaining in Utah that were constructed prior to 1940.

Tabernacle and meetinghouse design went through five significant periods of historical development. The first period is associated with the early years of Mormon western settlement and begins with the arrival of the Saints in the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847 and extends until around 1870. During this phase, the smaller meetinghouses were likely to serve a variety of functions such as schoolhouses, city halls, and social centers.

A second period of LDS Church tabernacle and meetinghouse architecture was ushered in by the ecclesiastical reforms of the late 1870s. A significant number of new religious buildings appeared throughout the state during the years between 1870 and about 1885. These buildings were generally larger and more substantial than those of the settlement period. At this time also it became characteristic of Mormon communities to have separate buildings for different functions. Another result of this increased building activity was that many of the first-period structures were demolished to make way for the new ones.

The expansion activities of the LDS Church were curtailed during the 1880s and 1890s as the leadership’s attention was increasingly consumed by the struggle with the U.S. Government over the doctrine of polygamy. Under pressure from Congress, The Mormons disavowed the practice of plural marriage in 1890 and the way was paved for Utah to become a state in 1896. Nearly twenty years of political conflict, however, had left the church in confusion and disarray. Beginning in about 1898, a serious revitalization program was launched that included, among other things, a restructuring of the hierarchy, a return to financial solvency, a revival of faith and commitment among the membership, and a rebuilding of the church architecture.

As a symbol of rededication, a massive church building effort was initiated in 1898 that lasted until the end of World War I and into the 1920s. This period of architectural development may be considered one of “activation”, as the church moved to strengthen its institutional base in Utah and surrounding states. It was during this time that the first “modern” meetinghouses appeared. These multi-functional buildings gathered all the activities of the local church under one roof. Ward buildings now included an assembly hall or chapel, the offices of the bishop, a room for the women’s auxiliary, and classrooms for Sunday school. Designs varied. On one side, a conservation faction within the church hierarchy favored the Neoclassical and Colonial Revival, while on the other, progressive groups championed Prairie School and Arts and Crafts designs. All in all, the early years of the twentieth century mark one of the richest periods in LDS Church architectural history.

The fourth period in tabernacle and meetinghouse development spans roughly a thirty-year period between 1925 and 1955 and represents a time of both consolidation and experimentation. The multi functional building became the mainstay of the building program, but designs ranged from the Moderne to the Colonial Revival. The LDS Church grew rapidly during the 1940s and 1950s and the need for new meetinghouse construction was even greater. Standardization increased, and there was a drive toward architectural efficiency that eventually lead to the creation of the LDS Church Building Department in 1954. The work of building department architects remains the final and fifth stage in the development of Mormon religious architecture in Utah.

The Sandy Second Ward Chapel is significant within the third phase of meetinghouse development. There are currently 29 meetinghouse buildings remaining in Utah from the third phase. The construction dates of these buildings ranged from 1899 to 1925. Sandy Second Ward Chapel represents the multi-functional and architecturally rich meetinghouse of the third phase, but it was also designed by an official church architect, a practice which would become more common in the fourth phase. The building was used by the LDS Church until the 1960s when it was replaced by a non-historic chapel.

The remaining Period III meetinghouses are as follows:

  1. American Fork Second Ward Meetinghouse, Utah County (Historic District)
  2. American Fork LDS Third Ward, Utah County
  3. Clearfield Ward Chapel, David County
  4. Clinton Ward Meetinghouse, Davis County
  5. Enterprise Meetinghouse, Washington County (National Register listed)
  6. Eureka LDS Wardhouse, Juab County (Eureka Historic District)
  7. Hanksville Meetinghouse School, Wayne County (National Register listed)
  8. Heber First Ward Meetinghouse, Wasatch County (major addition)
  9. Heber Second Ward Meetinghouse, Wasatch County (National Register listed)
  10. Hyrum First Ward Meetinghouse, Cache County (National Register listed)
  11. Kaysville Tabernacle, Davis County (State Register)
  12. Leamington LDS Church, Millard County
  13. Levan Ward Chapel and Amusement Hall, Juab County
  14. Logan Sixth Ward, Cache County (Logan Historic District)
  15. Moab LDS Meetinghouse, Grand County (altered)
  16. Moab Star Hall, Grand County (National Register listed)
  17. Murray First Ward, Salt Lake County (NR documentation started)
  18. Murray Second Ward Meetinghouse, Salt Lake County
  19. Murray Tenth Ward (formerly Grant Ward House), Salt Lake County
  20. Prove Third Ward Chapel and Amusement Hall, Utah County (National Register)
  21. SLC 453 S 1100 E, Salt Lake County (University Historic District)
  22. SLC 160 S University, Salt Lake County (University Historic District)
  23. SLC Cannon Ward LDS Church, Salt Lake County
  24. SLC Fifth Ward Meetinghouse, Salt Lake County (National Register listed)
  25. SLC Ensign Ward Meetinghouse/Amusement Hall, Salt Lake County (Avenues H.D.)
  26. SLC Guadalupe Center (LDS 16th Ward), Salt Lake County
  27. SLC Miracle Rock Church (LDS 34th Ward), Salt Lake County
  28. SLC New Hope Center, Salt Lake County
  29. Sandy Second Ward Chapel, Salt Lake County (NR documentation started)

History of Sandy:

The first half of the twentieth century was a period of transition for the city of Sandy. The mining, smelting and small farm era was being replaced by a more diversified economy. In some ways the town still resembled the earlier predominantly agricultural community founded by Mormon settlers in the 1860s, especially as the “boom town” economy created around the mining industry waned. The population of Sandy remained around 1,500 for the four decades between 1900 and 1940. However, the city was defining itself as the political, economic, civic and social center for a major portion of the southeast Salt Lake Valley. This period of Sandy’s history laid the groundwork for city’s eventual transformation from small town to suburb.

The transition began with the failure of several canyon mines which fed Sandy’s economy. As sampling and smelting plants shifted to other locations, Sandy’s impact as a mining town diminished.

While the dominant force in the economy of Sandy during the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s was undoubtedly that of mining, the local agricultural community had not ceased to develop. The local agricultural economy saw Sandy through the mining boom and subsequent depression.

The community was also seeing a great deal of civic development. The city of Sandy was incorporated on September 26, 1893. By 1911 the city was managing its own water resources and had a volunteer fire brigade of twenty-five, complete with two fire trucks. Utah Power and Light began servicing Sandy in 1913, and by 1914 the city was managing a park and a cemetery.

Economically, the city was changing dramatically. The depletion of the mineral resources in the Alta area and the loss of the smelting and sampling industries had changed the economic structure of Sandy City significantly. Moreover, a series of national and local depressions beginning in 1893 and continuing to the onset of World War II had made small-scale single-crop agricultural enterprises nearly impossible. Sandy farmers had an especially difficult time, needing to overcome the additional challenges of water scarcity and the arid, sandy soil.

Fortunately irrigation methods improved steadily through these years, and several Sandy farmers were able to successfully continue to raise hay and grain. Despite the success of these specialized agricultural industries, most farming in Sandy during the first half of the twentieth century was purely subsistence level. Between 1900-1920, the number of farms doubled, but nearly all were very small scale. Eighty-five percent of the farms were smaller than forty-nine acres. Six farms were between two hundred and one-thousand acres, and one farm was 1,217 acres.

During the first half of the twentieth century, the majority of Sandy residents continued to live on their farms. Most managed to survive economically by combining subsistence farming with other occupations, primarily cottage industries and mercantilism. The majority of occupations were highly diversified. Sandy appeared to have at least one resident involved in occupations associated with early urbanization: a physician, a dentist, a barber, a plumber etc. The most common business listed was dry goods. The Sandy City Bank founded in 1907, employed four, and had the largest deposits of any bank in the southern portion of the Salt Lake valley. Several residents listed their civic responsibilities: city treasurer, postmaster, marshal, justice of the peace.

As the non-Mormon or “Gentile” population moved out of Sandy with the decline of the mining industry, Mormonism continued to be the dominant religion. By the 1920s, the LDS population had grown large enough to require the construction of two new ward buildings. The Sandy Second Ward meetinghouse was completed in 1921 and the Third Ward in 1926. In addition to the three LDS wards, the 1927-28 gazetteer lists two other congregations: the Sandy Congregational Church and the Inter-Mission (Swedish/Lutheran) Church.

Before the 1900s, transportation between Sandy and other towns in Salt Lake County had been limited to pedestrian or horse traffic on rutted, dirt roads. Several railroad lines and mining related spurs had converged at Sandy by the 1880s, but the service they performed was primarily freight. The extension of the State Street streetcar line from Murray to Sandy on July 4, 1907 gave Sandy residents easier access to the shops and recreations of Salt Lake City.

A few residents may have commuted to work in Salt Lake, but the city generally remained self-contained. Buses began to replaced streetcars in the 1920s, at about the same time State Street’s south end was paved for automobile traffic. The last streetcar to operated in the Salt Lake Valley was discontinued in the 1946. By that time, automobiles were becoming increasingly more common, even in Sandy.

The original township of Sandy had expanded to the west of the railroad tracks with the boom of the mining industry. After the turn of the century growth was slower. At the west boundary of the city, commercial buildings as well as bungalows and period cottages appeared along State Street, the main artery to Salt Lake City. The institutional buildings, both civic and religious, were also made of brick and exhibited a variety of popular styles and decorative elements. Of the remaining large commercial and institutional buildings, examples ranged from the Renaissance Revival to PWA Moderne.

The Specialized Agriculture, Small Business, and Community Development Period in Sandy was a time of transition from farmlands and mining industries to quiet neighborhoods and small town civic pride. The architecture of the historic square mile of Sandy, as it is called, illustrates this transition, and stands in marked contrast to later development. In the years since World War II, Sandy has plated nearly 300 subdivisions and annexed over 10,000 acres, making it one of Salt Lake’s largest “bedroom” communities. Though Sandy’s city center has been moved adjacent to the mall, the city’s historic downtown is a distinctive reminder of Sandy’s small town past.