Architecture & Design | Visual Arts

Build Local: Variety in Early LDS Meetinghouses


In Utah’s newer neighborhoods, it is difficult to tell one LDS meetinghouse from another. A continuing process of central planning and modular design has meant that over the past half-century LDS ward houses have come to look more and more alike: increasingly large parking lots surround a generally unadorned structure with minimal windows that abuts a chapel to a gym or cultural hall that are both surrounded by offices and classrooms.

But in the late 19th- and early 20th- centuries, local LDS congregations were responsible for the construction of their meetinghouses, which resulted in a variety of architectural styles, with many buildings adorned with stained glass, murals and paintings created by local members (these days most chapels lack natural light, and the decorations are mass-produced prints).

For this month’s photo essay, we took a look at some of the variety of LDS architecture in the Salt Lake area. Send us shots of the religious architecture that helps define your own neighborhood and we’ll post them throughout the month (email to:

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