We had work assessments for new buildings, even in Utah! As a priest, I worked
my 100 hours and also my dad's 200--he was recovering from a heart
attack.The contractor had quite a time getting a handful of priests
learning how to work freshly poured concrete. We were standing around wondering
what to do, and the concrete was setting up! Quite a challenge for him.I
stripped the forms off the baptismal font--it was difficult because they were
stuck in place.We also worked alongside our bishop placing the decking on
the roof over what would be his office.We had to use 2-pound sledge
hammers and a star drill to set the anchor bolts for a laminated wood
column--quite a bit more labor-intensive that today's power hammer
drills!Good memories and experiences youth of today may never have!
The Jefferson Ward building had a big impact on my career choice. I’d
moved to Louisiana in 1964 to be a rocket scientist and lived in the nearby New
Orleans Ward. Our ward’s building was older and smaller than the beautiful
new Jefferson Ward in Metarie. Brother Horton, the architect of record for the
Jefferson building was in my ward, and he invited me to stop at his office to
examine the working drawings.I did - I was awe-struck how this building
could come out of his head, got drawn onto flat sheets of paper, then translated
by builders like Robert Williams using brick, plaster, and wood to become the
Jefferson Ward building.I immediately changed my mind about my career path
right there in Brother Horton’s office. I didn’t want to be a rocket
scientist any more, but changed courses and spent the next several years to
become an architect. This has been a very rewarding career, all influenced by
the Jefferson Ward building.
I remember helping carry stones to the scaffold so the skilled bricklayer/stone
mason could build the rock front of the Tacoma 5th/8th Ward Building in Lakewood
when all military stationed at Ft.Lewis and McHord Air Force Base were part of
the Tacoma 8th Ward in the early 1960's.I also remember
contributing to the building of the Lawton, Oklahoma Ward Building and the new
Cheyenne, Wyoming Stake Center when local members contributed 50 % of the cost
of the new buildings.Most of us never thought we would see the day
when the Church paid 100 % of the cost from general church funds.
I'm sorry I missed such things -- too young. Oh, I remember having to help
raise money to build our ward building, and my parents helped paint inside when
it was done . . .My grandfather told of helping to build the Stake
Center in Richland Washington - the Thayer building.It's
wonderful that the church can just build a building without the extra money
being raised for them, but there was something to be said for the opportunity to
be a part of the actual building. I think we appreciated the buildings more and
took better care of them. Too often I think some take them for granted -- leave
their litter in the chapel after sacrament meetings and so forth. And I think
it meant something when sisters helped make the draperies, the brothers planted
the trees and so forth. Those were the days.
A few weeks ago the Louisville temple purchased some land and had a similar
thing with member involvement. I understood that to be for a short time though.
I think the building process would offer the members more, even if they only
painted, cleaned and moved materials.
Interesting that this came from Richfield, Utah. I was born in Richfield and
when I was finishing the 5th grade in 1948 my father took a position as Building
Superintendent for the Church. We rented our house and moved to Macon, GA where
my dad built a chapel and at the same time was building chapels in Darlington,
SC, Dothan AL, and Seminary, MS. We later moved to Panama City, FL and Marianna,
FL where he built two more chapels. Donated labor was the theme in all of these
buildings. For my family it was an introduction to segregation and the ways of
the South -- including wonderful hospitality from the members and others.
However, my father was often chided by one branch president for being to kind to
the "darkies" that were hired to work on site.
What grat blessings came to each one when we had to help raise money to build
Stake Centers and Ward Buildings. We have helped with our original chapel, and
with our new chapel here in Lake Havasu city, Arizona. When we outgrew the
original ward, and had been victim of an arson fire, it was decided that we
needed to built a bigger building. The Relief Society Sisters could not
actually work on the building, but we all worked together and raised $5000 with
a bazaar to help fund the new building.