Dedicated: 1868
Owner: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Location: 52 W. Main Street (at Grass Valley Street)

Pine Valley Ward Chapel

LDS Historic Sites
Commentary by Mary Phoenix:
The Pine Valley Chapel has the distinction of being the oldest church in Utah in terms of use, for it has continuously served as a church since its erection in 1868. Fortunately, those in charge of this architectural gem have maintained it well and have insisted that necessary repair work alter the building very little, if at all.
Accounts tell how in 1855 Isaac Riddle, searching for a lost cow, stumbled onto a beautiful valley with a stand of prime timber, and soon the sawmill and the town were born. About 1868 it was decided to move the little settlement farther down the canyon to where there was more arable land and where it was easier to irrigate. These people decided that they needed a building for church and school purposes before they needed homes.
The raw material was plentiful. Granite boulders, huge hunks of limestone, and an abundance of timber was readily available but they lacked an architect, or master builder as they were called then.
Ebenezer Bryce, discoverer of Bryce Canyon, had been trained as a shipbuilder in his native Australia. When he arrived in Pine Valley with a herd of cattle, William Snow, bishop of Pine Valley, approached him about designing and supervising the construction of a church building. Bryce finally agreed if they were willing to accept his design of an upside down boat .
Local stone was used for the basement and foundation. The finest trees in the valley, from the same stand as those from which the pipe organ in the Salt lake Tabernacle was constructed, were selected for lumber and cut and shaped by hand since the logs were too large for the Pine Valley sawmills to handle.
The frame, measuring 33'3" by 54'4'', was put together with wood pegs and bound with green hides which became strong as steel when dried. It was constructed on the ground and then every man, boy and animal was enlisted to tug it upright so the walls could be affixed.
The building has two stories. The bottom was used for school and recreational functions and the second floor was the chapel. Immediately over the dais is a small prayer room. The attic, which visitors may view, is interesting for the ship-type riggings used there.
When travellers enter the serene Pine Valley and see the white chapel commanding the landscape, they are reminded of the words spoken by Ebenezer Bryce at the dedicatory ceremony. "If the floods come, it will float. If the winds come, it may roll over. It will never crash." After one century and almost a quarter of another we realize how truly prophetic his words were.
Pine Valley Ward Chapel Pine Valley Ward Chapel Pine Valley Ward Pine Valley Utah Pine Valley historic site salt lake tabernacle organ chapel at Pine Valley Pine Valley Utah Pine Valley Utah Map
The chapel is just to the right of center in the valley bottom
Pine Valley Ward Chapel
Pine Valley Ward Chapel
What you see as you enter Pine Valley Utah
Logs from the deep gorge west of here were harvested in 1867 and hauled to this site by ox team for construction of the Pine Valley Chapel. Thought to be designed and built like an upside down ship by Ebenezer Bryce, this chapel was dedicated in 1868. It is one of the longest continuously operated chapels in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Wood for the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ pipes was taken from large yellow pine trees here in Pine Valley, selected by Robert Gardner Jr. in 1866. One was harvested 2.6 miles east of here between the left and middle forks of Santa Clara Creek. Others were taken from the mouth of Forsyth Canyon. They were cut into 30 foot lengths, sewed into lumber at sawmills in Pine Valley and hauled by wagon to Salt Lake City where they were fashioned into organ pipes as prescribed by Joseph Ridges, the organ builder.