Sunday, February 17, 2013

Salt Lake City Garden Park Ward

Historical photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Library.  Current photo courtesy of

After several years of posts from Utah County, I am taking the blog up north, to Salt Lake City.  I wanted to start with one of my favorite places in Salt Lake, the Garden Park Ward Building.

After moving to Salt Lake, I had an incredible experience as I was riding my bike around one day.  I came across a church building and I felt like I had found a secret garden.  The building, the Garden Park Ward, was hidden in the middle of a neighborhood, but had the most incredible grounds I had ever come across for a church building.  Here are some pictures from 1939 and what it looks like today:

Historic photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Library

Historic photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Library 

Historic photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Library 

The chapel is located at 1150 E Yale Ave in Salt Lake City.  Outside of the chapel is a plaque that reads:

"The historic Garden Park Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is situated where the Red Butte Creek flows into the Salt Lake Valley.  Brigham Young in 1857 conveyed his deeded property to his younger brother, Lorenzo Dow Young.  In 1880 it was acquired by Lorenzo's daughter, Josephine Young Carter, who transferred 21 acres, including this site, to Le Grand Young.  Le Grand was Brigham Young's nephew and general legal counsel to the LDS church.  Le Grand and Lorenzo planted trees, many of which remain on this site.  In 1918 it was sold to John C. Howard who enlarged the home and added the walls and smaller buildings.  The estate was bought in 1928 for the Garden Park Ward Chapel, which was dedicated April 2, 1939 by President Heber J. Grant.

"The chapel stands on a foundation constructed for the Howard mansion.  The oak grove, the giant trees, the stream and pond, walks, walls, and gardens provide a place of worship with historical ties to pioneer days.

"President Gordon B. Hinckley 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints rededicated the Garden Park Ward building and grounds on January 20, 2008.  This was President Hinckley's last public appearance prior to his passing on January 27, 2008."

The final picture of the three that I posted above is what is called the Scout House or is sometimes known as the Carriage House.  I do not know if this was the original house on the property that was later enlarged by John Howard or if it was constructed at the same time as the chapel.  The picture above is from 1941, which leads me to wonder at what time it was enlarged, since it currently includes an additional wing that was not included in the original rendering.

One interesting part of the building can be seen in the picture above of the chapel.  Unlike most LDS chapels, rather than having pews, the chapel has seats.  They remained after the 2008 renovation and are still in place.

The best part of the chapel are the gardens in the back.  It is an extremely popular place to take wedding photos and it is common to find a bride or two roaming around.  I love to go and sit by the pond or lay under one of the huge trees.  The chapel is available for wedding receptions, but only for those individuals that live within the stake boundaries.  Anyone can take photos, as long as it is on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday.  For more information, please visit

Below are several photos of the building and the grounds.

LOST IN HISTORY: The Red Butte Creek, which flows through Garden Park Ward, has been scene to a recent environmental controversy.  What environmental issue recently occurred (within the last 5 years) happened on Red Butte Creek?  If you get tired of searching, you can read a good article about it here.


  1. Chad, thanks for sharing! This is awesome and this is the sort of local history I like to read about. I love architecture and gardens. The next time I'm in SLC I am going to go and check this out.

  2. Chad, thanks for sharing! This is awesome and this is the sort of local history I like to read about.

    gw2 gold

  3. Chad:

    We enjoyed meeting you the other day at the Provo Gallery Stroll. I love the tape art, especially the one of the Cathedral of the Madeleine. How long will that be on display? I'd like to bring my wife by to see it. I love that you are doing this blog, too.

    By the way, let me know how I can contact you to let you know where you can access the recording of the historic preservation meeting tonight (Apr 14th). And look for us on Facebook where you can find our page by searching on 'Save Historic Provo'.



  4. Dave,

    It was great meeting you too. I am taking everything down on the 27th in the morning, so the Friday the 26th is the last day to check it out. Sorry that I haven't contacted you so thanks for contacting me because I have been meaning to get in touch with you. My brother's birthday was this week and we are having a party for him tonight so I can't go. But if you are recording it, I'd love to watch it. is my email so if you need to get ahold of me at all, feel free to email me. Also, please keep me informed because I'd love to help out however I can. I do live in Salt Lake, but Provo is just a quick train ride away. I liked the page on Facebook and I'll keep up with the page, but let me know about anything else I can do. Thanks.


  5. Chad (and others): Join us this Friday evening at 6PM in front of the Gates-Snow Bldg next to Knight Block where we will start off our first post-discussion walking tour. It should be very interesting, and there will be lots of opportunites to weigh in with your own thoughts and opinions.

    Meanwhile, I need to digitize the recent presentation so that I can make it available on the web for you to watch. I'll try to get to that this week.

  6. PS How late is the H&J Bldg open on Friday? I'd love to take another look at your exhibit before it gets taken down.