Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 21, 2021
Plaque theft leads to rededication ceremony

A new plaque on the monument in remembrance of the first chapel ever to be built in Tooele City will be dedicated this Saturday.

The plaque, which was located on a monument in Tooele City’s Veteran’s Memorial Park was stolen a few years ago.

“We don’t know when exactly the plaque was stolen, but we were finally able to order a new one,” said Marilyn Christiansen, with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. “In order to replace the plaque on the monument, we must host a dedication ceremony.”

The DUP wants people to come and see the dedication.

 “We are going to have some light refreshments, ” Christensen said.

Joel Dunn, 92, publisher emeritus of  the Transcript Bulletin has been asked to dedicate the plaque. If Dunn is unable to dedicate the plaque his son, Bruce, will offer the dedicatory prayer.

Joel Dunn said he dedicated the original plaque, which memorializes the building that he attended as a youth. 

The ceremony will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Park on the corner of Vine and Main Streets where the chapel was originally constructed.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began construction of the church building in 1854.

Rocks for the walls of the building were taken from the mouth of Settlement Canyon, according to the DUP’s book “History of Tooele County.”

“All members of the community did their part to help hasten the building’s completion but it was not until 1869 that the church was finished,” DUP editors wrote in the book.

The six-foot-tall church was dedicated by a series of public meetings that spanned a period of three days in April 1870.

The chapel, called Tooele Chapel, South Ward Chapel, and the First Ward Chapel, was used as a school, as well as a chapel for the first 15 years of its existence.

Next door to the chapel, members of the Church built stake offices.

The chapel was in use for over 100 years. Over time members of the Church added to it. It was later remodeled in 1918 and 1952. 

When the Tooele Stake Center was completed in 1966, the old chapel stood vacant for nearly a year, because the Tooele First Ward moved to the new building, according to Bruce Dunn.

Also in 1966, there was talk of Tooele City purchasing the building to turn it into an assembly hall or library. 

The city was in favor of the idea, because one of the larger rooms could hold about 300 individuals, but the City Council ultimately tabled the idea. 

Then, in 1967, children were playing with matches in the church and it caused some of the rooms to burn, so it was torn down in February 1968.

The Stake offices next door were torn down at the same time as the chapel. The Church traded the land to Tooele City for property on Coleman Street to build another chapel.

When construction teams were tearing down the chapel, they discovered a bell in the steeple that had been covered up during remodeling.

Some think that the bell was installed because of the school, according to Bruce Dunn.

Joel Dunn purchased the bell and gifted it to the DUP. The bell sits on top of the monument.

 

One thought on “Plaque theft leads to rededication ceremony

  1. Being a Tooele native who has lived far away for many years, I enjoy reading any news regarding happenings in my old home town. It seems that one can leave Tooele but the town never leaves one’s heart. As I age the connection only becomes more important. I’m so grateful for the hometown paper and the service it provides to so many just like me.

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