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One of Utah's oldest Mormon chapels to be demolished

Published: Sunday, April 15 2012 10:48 p.m. MDT

PARADISE, Utah (AP) — One of the oldest Mormon chapels in Utah will soon be demolished to make way for a new church.

The 133-year-old Paradise 2nd and 3rd Ward church in Cache County will be leveled next month.

Church historians say the chapel, located in the heart of Paradise, was completed in 1877 and features limestone walls. The landmark structure has been added onto multiple times over the years.

While there's no evidence of cracking in the original building's walls, the chapel is not in compliance with seismic codes and has problems with its roof and foundation.

Church leaders said while some members wanted to save the chapel, most preferred a new church because of the high cost to renovate.

"Given the fact that the structure was in the shape it was in, it wasn't logical to try to restore it," said Hyrum Stake President Steve Miller, who presides over the four wards in Paradise.

Miller said he and other stake leaders have asked if original elements of the old chapel could be incorporated into the new church. Original rock will become part of a stone facade, he said, and plans call for a modified steeple that doubles as a bell tower, housing the original bell from the 19th century church.

The original chapel features architecture and construction techniques shared by earlier LDS churches and temples, said Garth Norman, a contract archaeologist for the church.

"Some of these early settler-builders had worked on the Nauvoo temple, and could have naturally incorporated their knowledge of temple architecture into the design and construction of the new rock church," he told The Herald Journal.

"So many people around here have great memories of that building," he said. "It's a noble building and it's sad to see it come down," said Nick Nielsen of Paradise.

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