Over the past ten months, the oldest standing church building in San Juan County has undergone a major renovation, taking it into a second century of use.
The historic building is now like the scripture that has undoubtedly been taught within its walls: “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Local church leaders have scheduled an open house for Blanding South Chapel this coming Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The public is invited to come see the “new” in self-guided tours, as well as enjoy an information display, historic highlights, and family history activities.
The next morning, March 29, the newly refurbished building will host the three wards (congregations) that call the building home.
While the majority of the work is hidden from view—new trusses under the new roof, an all-new electrical system plus a quietly efficient heating and cooling system—there are some esthetic changes, including lovely Old World wall texturing, wood trim and carpet.
Visitors will especially want to tour the Relief Society and Young Women’s rooms, as well as the beautiful chapel. Other major changes include the restrooms.
Even as the remodel made all things new, it took some things back in time, most notably the two wing rooms off the chapel (i.e. the “cry rooms”), period light fixtures, and glass above the south entrance.
An old clock from years past will once again hang at the back of the chapel.
“Since it is a 100 year-old building it presented a few challenges in some areas,” said Project Supervisor Blaine Spencer, “but overall, things went okay.” He added, “I’m glad they decided to preserve it.”
The Blanding South LDS Chapel has been lovingly refurbished after a nine-month project. Current and historic photos of the building are shown. One of the less apparent but still important upgrades is strengthening the rock capstone. The east brick wall was raised to hide mechanical fixtures. Stucco replaced wood and trim was painted. In the chapel, a beloved painting of Christ with the children was rehung after being restored by artist Kelly Pugh and outfitted with a new frame. Note the open wing and new choir bench seating.