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Historic Scofield LDS chapel faces demolition this summer

While the chapel has been well-maintained, the deep problem with the building dates back to 1888.

Sun Advocate associate editor

On the bright side, there will be more room for people and parking, and the portable toilets in the parking lot will be gone.

But on the nostalgic side, the Scofield Chapel has served the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there for a little more than 122 years, and it will soon face the wreckers.

Dry rot is the problem.

According to Durwood Carter, clerk of the Scofield branch of the Helper Stake, building codes back in 1888 were far different. The original builders used logs for the foundation. Now those logs have rotted. "The building leans to the north now," Carter said.

leans to the north now," Carter said.

Although there's no specific timeline for demolition yet, the branch leadership would like to see a decision from the LDS First Presidency by August, Carter said.

They must be able to get the replacement building enclosed before Scofield winter sets in.

The cultural hall, which was added to the old building in 1977, will remain. Plans call for it to be revamped into the new chapel, capable of seating 150 churchgoers. The current capacity is 100.

The floorplan for the future calls for the new building to adjoin the cultural hall and to be divided by moveable partitions, which will provide needed classrooms. When it is fully opened, the church will be able to accommodate 458 people. While that may sound like a lot for a town with a permanent population of less than 30, there has been a lot of construction for vacation homes in the area, Carter explained.

There are also the recreational crowds to consider, given the nearness of Scofield State Park and the lake.

"Over Memorial Day we had 327 attend," Carter said. Though rare, it is not unheard of for 400 people to show up.

Though they may be vacationers, "they come prepared for services," Carter added.

There's a family connection between the old chapel and Carter and his wife Ann.

"Ann's grandparents were married there in 1889, right after it was built," Carter explained.

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