The first Kamas Ward meetinghouse was located on the corner of 100 East and 100 South. In “Kamas with Komets,” Roy Lambert gives the location of the meetinghouse as “across the street east from the present one.” The “present one” of which he was speaking was located where the small Beaver Creek Park currently resides. This would place the church building at roughly 115 East and 100 South. Built under the supervision of L.E. Fitch, it was begun in 1897. The building was of frame construction and not the more commonly seen brick or stone that was common to the area and time-period. As seen in the article below from the Salt Lake Herald Republican, the framing and outer structure of the building went up very quickly.
The interior of the building would languish, unfinished, for several years as both time and money for the construction became scarce. Some of the smaller rooms were finished and the Saints began meeting in the building before it was finished. The “Kamas Centennial” booklet compiled by Diane Atkinson, Beverly Bemis, Jackie Blazzard and Kathy Gordon states that, “At this time, (April 1901) it was unpainted, without a floor, lacking steps and doors.”
In April 1901, Stake President Moses W. Taylor
urged the residents to finish the building as quickly as possible so that Stake Conference could be held in the building in May of that year. Under the guidance of Bishop Samuel F. Atwood,
it was completed on May 5, in time for the conference. The building was certainly one of the most beautiful and unique examples of LDS architecture in Utah at the time.
However, the enjoyment of this beautiful building would be short lived. Less than 10 months later, on March 3, 1902, the building burned to the ground. The Coalville Times reported that, “it is supposed that the fire originated by some boys trying to burn soot out of the chimney, and in some way the blaze caught the wood up near the ceiling.”
Try as they may, the citizens were unable to save the building from total destruction. With heavy hearts, the people of Kamas returned to their previous place of worship.
Back to the trusty, reliable tithing office for the members of the Kamas Ward. This was the same tithing house that would serve so many purposes for the citizenry, a church, a jail, and even as Kamas City Hall.
Saddened but undaunted, the ward members started on a new building under the direction of a new bishop, Dan Lambert.
The new church building was moved across 100 East to the northwest corner of the intersection. The new building was to be built of brick, surely a nod to increased fire prevention. This second ward building was completed in 1904, and was dedicated by President Joseph F. Smith on August 14, 1904.
This building would survive for many years and would be remodeled and enlarged three different times. In 1950, after the most significant addition was made to it, the Kamas Church would become the South Summit Stake Center. Finally, in 1976, the building would undergo one final renovation. In 1984 it was then deemed too small for continued use. A new building was dedicated that same year roughly two blocks west and across main street from this site.
While it had a very short life-span, the original Kamas Church will be remembered for the unique architectural style of its design and for the unity it brought, even for a short time, among the saints in Kamas.