Mapleton, Utah's First LDS Meetinghouse

The first dedicated LDS meetinghouse in Mapleton, Utah was built in 1893.

The community of Union Bench was an extension of Springville, but the growing community that would soon become Mapleton hit a turning point when they built their first dedicated public meetinghouse for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. Settlement began in 1856 and the small church branch met in a public schoolhouse located near the center of town. The schoolhouse, even with an addition made to provide more space, did not last forever. The branch was officially organized into a ward in 1888. Around this time, a larger meetinghouse was needed for both the school and the church.

As a new school was finished in 1890 and the church meetings moved there the members of the Church recognized they needed a dedicated meetinghouse. A committee was formed to find a building site and local member Matilda Streeper offered to donate one acre of land if construction of the new church began immediately. Construction on the church began in 1889, the church was dedicated in 1892, and in 1893 it was completed and meetings started. The meetinghouse was a stepping-stone into Union Bench becoming a town. As the new school and church were completed, the community pulled together to petition for township. As the Mapleton ward, named after a grove of trees near the canyon, made up a majority of the community’s population, the town came to be known as Mapleton, Utah.

The meetinghouse stood and satisfied the needs of the ward for many years. The building was sturdy and any hazards to it were swiftly taken care of, but as Mapleton continued to grow after gaining town status the need for a bigger meetinghouse arose. In the 1930s, the Great Depression hit the town and the population struggled. The church and town leaders worked closely together to combat poverty and support the struggling families by finding different work projects to provide work receipts that could be exchanged for food. One of these projects was the demolition of the old meetinghouse and the construction of a new one, which is still standing. The new chapel cost $35,000, half of which was donated by the local community. The chapel was completed in 1938 and dedicated for use in 1941 and is still in use today. You can find a plaque with a brief history outside the chapel, as well as historical photos on the walls inside which convey some of the heritage of the early Mapleton residents.

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