This mission church and school constructed in 1881 of native oolite limestone in the Greek Revival style was designed by architect Peter Van Houghton of Salt Lake City. The church was constructed under the supervision of Reverend G.W. Martin who arrived in Manti in 1879 and remained in Manti until his death forty years later. The church was one of several Presbyterian churches built in central Utah’s Sanpete and Sevier Valleys under the direction of Reverend Duncan McMillan, Presbyterian Mission Superintendent in Utah from 1875 to 1917.
The Presbyterian Church entered Utah Territory and expanded rapidly between 1869 and 1883. Around 1911, they erected this building as the Ferron Wasatch Academy, one of forty such institutions in Utah. These private educational systems led to the establishment of higher education in Utah. It remained a church and school until 1942 when it was sold to the Ferron American Legion Post No. 42. It is in use today as a center for community activities.
Dedicated July 12, 1986 by Utah Outpost, Mount Charlie Chapter No. 1850, E Clampus Vitus.
The Ferron Church and associated manse are representative of the missionary activity of the Presbyterians in predominantly Mormon regions of Utah. Since the primary emphasis of the Presbyterian missionary effort was their educational programs, the buildings are also representative of the important influence the non-Mormon church programs had upon the development of public education in the state. Although the architect of these buildings is unknown, the church is one of the best examples of Late Gothic Revival architecture in this portion of the state.
The Presbyterian denomination has traditionally placed heavy emphasis upon missionary activity. Presbyterian missionary work in Utah dates back to June 13, 1869, when Reverend Melanchton Hughs preached his first service in Corinne, Utah. The period from 1869 to 1883 is seen as a time of remarkable expansion for the Presbyterians in Utah. On March 27, 1883, the Utah Presbytery reported “…33 stations with 41 buildings valued at $65,000. Sixty-six teachers were conducting schools with 1,789 enrolled There were about 350 members in the churches, with 13 ministers.”1 In 1905 Sherman H. Doyle wrote:
“Utah appeals with peculiar pathos to all interested in Christian missions. It is an ideal mission field. The people are there by the thousands. They are in ignorance, in superstition, and in irreligion. They are easily accessible in great numbers. No new tongue must be learned to preach the gospel to them. Their own best interests as well as those of our homes, of society, of our land, and of our church, demand their reclaim from the degrading superstitions of Mormonism. Can we resist such an appeal? Let us not even try; but rather in the spirit of the master let us be willing to spend and be spent in winning the souls of these deluded thousands to his cross and his crown.”
The most effective and extensively utilized Presbyterian proselyting method was the establishment of church schools, especially for elementary age children. When the Presbyterians began their missionary work in Utah, public education was very limited. The schools established by the Presbyterians and other Protestant churches as well as by the Catholics were the only alternatives to LDS operated or oriented schools. By 1887, 50,000 children had been educated in Presbyterian schools.- Presbyterian elementary schools were eventually established in thirty-three Utah towns. Although Mount Pleasant Academy and Westminster College are all that remain in operation today of the once extensive Presbyterian educational system, it has been judged a success by the church primarily because it helped force the establishment of public schools in Utah.
The Perron mission is notable because it was one of the few church and school complexes built in Utah after the 1869-1883 expansion period and because it was built in an area where a public educational system was already established.
Local informants indicate that Presbyterian missionaries came to the Ferron area about the turn of the century and that church services and elementary school classes were held in a two story frame building which is no longer extant. On February 15, 1908, the First Presbyterian Church of Ferron purchased two lots of land for the construction of a church building and a manse (clergyman’s residence). On March 28, 1908, the Emery County Progress announced:
The excavation for the new (Presbyterian) building has been completed almost sufficient rock for a 12-foot wall is on the ground. The building will be 51 ft. x 60 ft., with two stories and will accommodate church, school and academy, as well as provide for reading room, gymnasium and other school features. It is hoped that the building will be ready for occupancy early in September.
But hopes that the church would be completed later that year were soon dashed. Shortage of funding dictated that the construction proceed at a slower pace than was originally planned. The primary builders were Tom Jones and Mac McKenzie, both Presbyterian missionaries sent to the Ferron area around the turn of the century. These men worked on a volunteer basis, constructing the building as funds permitted. In 1910, the land the church was being built upon was mortgaged to the Board of the Church Erection Fund for $1,000 to help finance the completion of the building.
By March of 1911, at least part of the building was ready for occupation. The church and school remained in operation until 1942, at which time the building was deeded over to the Ferron American Legion Post. During its 30 year life as a mission, the Presbyterian Church building provided not only religious services, but also elementary schooling for grades 1 through 8. If students wished to continue in the Presbyterian educational system, they could attend high school at Wasatch Academy at Mount Pleasant and college at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Local informants recall that the church school had a good educational reputation and that during the early period, it provided the only free lending library in town.
The nearby manse (parson’s residence) or “Cottage” as it was locally known, was probably built in or shortly after 1908. The first floor served as a residence for the minister and his family, while the second floor housed the unmarried female missionary school teachers. At one time the cottage and the church were connected by a covered walkway. The cottage is presently a private residence owned by Joel Swapp.
Gothic-style Church built of brick in 1888 during the last years of an intense period of missionary activity by the Presbyterians in Utah. Architect was William Allen of Kaysville. Marker placed October 1973 by Alpheus and Ivy Harvey.
Located at 94 East Center Street in Kaysville, Utah on a parcel located at 80 East Center with another home.
The Green River Presbyterian Church / Green River Bible Church
Built in 1907, this small wooden church is a good example of the Victorian Gothic architectural style. It is composed of intersecting wings with a tower set into the entrance angle. The principal wing is nearly two stories high and has a broad, steeply pitched gable roof. The front projecting wing is smaller, perhaps a story-and-a-half, but has the same pointed roof shape as the larger section to the rear. The tower is a full two stories and the roof a unique mixture of hip and tower element. The tower roof itself is hipped, but it is clipped at each corner by square battlements that protrude upward to a point just below the apex of the hip. Each wing contains large Gothic arched, stained-glass windows with pointed-arch wooden tracery. The two visible sides of the tower have round-arched paired windows on the second story. Above each of these windows is another small round window which is framed beneath a decorative pointed arch of applied wood. Over the tower’s front door is a slightly flared hipped roof canopy. The wooden frame sits on a rusticated stone foundation and is covered with clapboard siding. Originally, the building was white with brown trim.
In 1963 a four room addition was put on the west end for Sunday School rooms, and storage. In 1986 the old paint was removed and the church repainted white with gold trim. The interior walls were originally painted plaster and moveable chairs were used for seating. In the 1970’s, carpet was placed over the wooden floors, and pine pews replaced moveable chairs. In 1985, the interior plaster walls were replaced with insulation and sheetrock and all woodwork was restored and refinished. In 1986, the church received a new asphalt roof. Despite these changes and perhaps because of them the building retains much of its historic integrity.
Located at 320 West Main Street in Green River, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#88002998) on January 5, 1989.
Constructed in 1906-07, the Green River Presbyterian Church is architecturally significant at the local level as an excellent example of the Victorian Gothic style. It is also historically significant as the first church built in the town and as an important early example of the “community church” phase of Protestant church activity in predominantly Mormon Utah. Unlike nineteenth-century Protestant church buildings in Utah, which were erected as part of the missionary effort among the Mormons, twentieth-century churches were constructed with the sole purpose of serving local congregations. The relatively small number of non-Mormons in Utah communities often prompted members of various Protestant backgrounds to band together in a community church arrangement, even though one faith may have sponsored the congregation and the construction of the building. Such was the case with the Green River church, which was loosely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church but had several different denominations represented among its original members. Although the church acted solely as a religious structure, its significance is derived from its unique architecture and early representation of the historical theme of Protestant community churches.
The first Protestant congregation in Green River was established in March 1906 under the direction of Rev. J.K. McGillivray, a Presbyterian pastor. There were 29 members of the original congregation, representing eight different denominations. Immediately after Rev. McLain W. Davis took over the pastorate in December 1906, he proposed the project to construct a building for the congregation. Land for the new church (five lots valued at $1000) was donated by the Green River Land and Townsite Company, and over $2200 were raised locally through donations, labor subscriptions and a variety of fund-raising activities, such as chicken pie suppers. There was also a $1000 grant from the “Board of Church Erection” of the Utah Presbytery to assist with construction costs. Ware & Treganza, a prominent architectural firm from Salt Lake City, was hired at a cost of $125 to design the new structure. Work on the project probably started in the spring or summer of 1907. The building was dedicated on October 20, 1907, though it had been used for some time before its completion. Total cost of the facility, which included an organ and chairs, was almost $4500. The building functioned as a Presbyterian church until 1958, when the Presbytery of Utah was no longer able to provide a full-time minister. Since 1959 the church has been a nondenominational community church, though its historical role has always been that of a community church.
The Green River Presbyterian Church was constructed at a time when the community of Green River was emerging as an official town. A makeshift settlement known as Blake City had been located at this site as early as 1879 along the newly established mail route connecting Salina, Utah, and Ouray, Colorado. The site of the settlement was at a favorable crossing of the Green River. In 1883 the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad established an east/west line along that route, helping ensure the existence of the settlement. The town took on the name Green River in 1895, but it was not until 1906 that the first town council was elected and a new townsite laid out. Green River was officially incorporated in 1910. This period of municipal growth corresponded with the local “Peach Boom,” during which the peach industry was introduced and thrived. Other community advances at that time were the construction of a two-story brick school in 1910, the erection of a metal-truss wagon bridge across the Green River in 1910, the establishment of a Mormon ward (congregation) in 1904, and the formation of a Presbyterian congregation in 1906 and the construction of their building in 1907.
The Green River Presbyterian Church represents a new phase of Protestant activity in Utah cities, a “community church” phase. The evangelical zeal that had sustained Protestant missionary efforts in Utah during the 1870s-90s was extinguished by the turn of the century. Nationwide economic depressions during the 1890s greatly reduced donations from church contributors in the eastern U.S., and the perceived need for missionary work among the Mormons was significantly lessened with the 1890 Manifesto denouncing polygamy by Mormon church president Wilford Woodruff. The establishment of a viable Utah public school system in the 1890s also had a negative effect on Protestant missionary efforts in Utah. These efforts focused on providing Mormon children with schooling as a first step toward conversion. The combination of these factors in the 1890s brought an end to the Protestant evangelical missionary period in Utah.
The community church phase of Protestantism in Utah represents a local desire for Protestant religious services and the willingness of the various churches to support congregations of mixed denominational background. Most Utah towns were at overwhelmingly Mormon, so there were relatively few Protestant churches, usually only one per community (except in the larger cities). No single denomination had enough congregants to justify the expense of a building and minister, so ecumenical community churches were the practical solution. Affiliations with the sponsoring institutions were maintained for a number of years (e.g. Green River Presbyterian Church, Magna Community Baptist Church), but they usually became weaker with time. Most of the congregations eventually became nondenominational community churches.
This mission chapel was erected in 1880 as part of the efforts of the Reverend Duncan McMillan to evangelize central Utah. Originally located on Main Street, the building was torn down and rebuilt at this location in 1937/38. This church also symbolizes a historic decision by the Protestant churches of Utah not to compete with each other in areas where their numbers were few, but to unite as a community church to serve all denominations.
First Presbyterian Church of American Fork – 75 North 100 East
In 1877 Reverend George R. Bird arrived to begin activities of the Presbyterian Church in American Fork. Work on this modified gothic revival church began in 1878. The cornerstone for the completed building was laid in September 1881 by Reverend Thomas F. Day. This building was used as both a church and a school until the school was closed in 1909. It has served as a Presbyterian Church continuiously since its construction. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places May 23, 1980.
Located at 251 South 200 East in Springville is the Springville Presbyterian Church. In 1877 The Rev. George Leonard established a Presbyterian Church and Mission School in Springville. In 1892-1893, this church was built just south of the Presbyterian Hungerford Academy, the only school then providing education from elementary grades through high school for all denominations. This church is an example of the late gothic revival style with a romanesque revival bell tower. The stained glass windows are part of the original structure. This building has served as a Presbyterian Church continuously since its construction.
In 1886 the Presbyterian Church built the Hungeford Academy in Springville, on the corner of 200 East 200 South. Six years later, in 1892, they built the Presbyterian Church to the South of it. The Hungeford Academy was a private boarding school, and only stood on that corner for 26 years, before being torn down in 1912.