The Cozy Little Chapel by the Bend of the Stream

History part 3

This article originally appeared in the May-June 1972 issue of Pioneer Magazine
By Joy F. Dunyon

Driving east on Evergreen Avenue between rows of stately pine and spruce trees, you are thrilled at the sight of a picturesque chapel rising majestically on a small knoll by the bend of the road. You feel as though you were suddenly transported to one of the beauty-spots of old New England.

For nearly 95 years this building has been the center of activity in East Mill Creek. Prior to its construction the people of the area were members of the of the Salt Lake Stake, but President Daniel H. Wells called a special meet on July 18, 1877, and East Mill Creek Ward was formed.

The original chapel was a one room brick building 28′ x 50′ with the entrance facing the west. There were three windows on the north, two on the west and three on the south. On the east was an exit door. Heat for the building was furnished by a pot-bellied stove, and when the wind blew, smoke came back into the chapel. It soon became so thick meetings had to be dismissed.

All-Purpose Place

The building was the center place for both worship and social activities. The stand or rostrum was a large platform built across the east end of the room. It was elevated some three feet above the floor and closed across the front in order to provide storage space for stage properties, etc. A small table served as a pulpit. Against the east wall, on a long bench sat the bishopric and other dignitaries. When the dramatic club went into action for the winter season an extension large enough for a stage was built in front of the platform.

Social Events, Too

Dances, also, were held in this one- room chapel. The band occupied the stand while the younger set lined themselves along the front of the platform admiring the musicians and dancers. As babysitting was unheard of, babes in arms came along with mamas and papas.

It was in this chapel on March 4, 1900, that Sister Edith E. Fisher spoke in tongues, and Apostle John W. Taylor, who was present, rose to his feet and gave the interpretation of what was said.

From 1878 to 1893, this historic old building was used as a school house. A curtain was drawn through the middle of the room providing two classrooms.

East Mill Creek continued to grow and in 1901 the chapel was enlarged by adding a wing to the south. In 1913 two rooms and a heating plant were also added. The amusement hall built on the east was erected in 1925, and in 1935 a pipe organ previously used at the Gem Theater was purchased and installed in the chapel.

Pleasing Building

The growth of this chapel is indicative of the progress and development of this area. From the humble one room it emerged to a large, adequately equipped, pleasant building.

Perhaps it is not the newest in architecture, or the most beautiful in appearance, or the finest furnished, but it emanates a friendly atmosphere with the warmth, the humility and the steadfastness of the people who settled this community.

Ninety five years of history, pioneer hardships, growth, educational, religious and social accomplishments in every field of endeavor have unfolded within the walls of this building.

(Acknowledgement: Much of the material in this article was taken from the writings of Nina S. Neff.)

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