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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Park Avenue Chapel


Other Names:
L. D. S. Chapel
L. D. S. Park Avenue Chapel
L.D.S. Chapel
L.D.S. Park Avenue Chapel
Latter Day Saints Park Avenue Chapel
LDS Chapel
LDS Park Avenue Chapel
Park Avenue Chapel
Raymond Community Centre

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Park Avenue Chapel is a brick building located on a portion of two lots on Raymond's main thoroughfare, at the south end of the town's business district. The building features a Y-shaped plan with stained glass windows, decorative brick and mortar elements, a central tower, roof dormers, and a stepped gable parapet.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Park Avenue Chapel lies in its association with the settlement and religious life of Raymond and its unique architectural style, marrying the design sensibilities of prominent Mormon architects with the stylistic influences of turn of the twentieth-century English domestic architecture.

The Town of Raymond was founded at the turn of the twentieth century through the efforts of wealthy Utah mine owner and industrialist Jesse Knight. Inspired by both a religious sense of duty and an entrepreneurial spirit, Knight wanted to create both a robust Mormon settlement and a centre for processing sugar beets. In 1901, he selected a location between the Mormon communities of Stirling and Magrath for the townsite of Raymond and established the Knight Sugar Company processing plant shortly thereafter. The many opportunities of the new community - including farming, ranching, and working in the sugar mill - initially attracted a wealth of settlers, part of the third wave of Mormon immigration into southern Alberta. By 1912, Raymond had grown so large that it was necessary to divide the community into two wards (religious jurisdictions). Raymond's First Ward continued to use the church originally constructed for the community in 1901, while the Second Ward employed the old school to conduct its worship services. In 1928, needing a larger space for its faith community, the Second Ward broke the ground on a new chapel. Construction on the building continued through to 1939, when the chapel was dedicated and the first service was held. Building the chapel was a labour of love, with community members offering their time and money to the project.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Park Avenue Chapel is architecturally unique, uniting some of the pre-eminent designers of major Mormon buildings with the influences of turn of the twentieth-century English architecture. The Park Avenue Chapel is based on designs by Hyrum C. Pope and Harold W. Burton, the architects for the famed Church of Jesus Christ temples in Cardston and in Hawaii. Their plan was adapted by R.B. Rolfson, another significant architect who was also responsible for the design of the Church chapels at Magrath and Stirling and for Raymond's Town Hall. The Y-shaped configuration of the building focused on a central rotunda and its decorative features are unique in Canadian Church of Jesus Christ architecture, with their only analogue being a twin church - now extensively altered - in Provo, Utah. The influence of late nineteenth, early twentieth-century English architecture is evident in the use of multi-coloured brick, the tall chimneys, and the roof dormers. In addition to its sacred space, the building also includes classrooms and a community hall, making it a centre for cultural activities.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1571)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Park Avenue Chapel include such features as:
- Y-configuration centred on rotunda;
- wood-shingled gable roofs with cross-gable projections, roof dormers, and tall chimneys;
- multi-coloured brick facade featuring geometric patterns;
- oak and glass entrance doors decorated with wrought iron grillwork;
- brick pilasters supporting wooden entablature, above which is an abstract stained glass window capped by a semicircular window and formed cement voussoirs;
- stepped gable parapet decorated with cement and ornamental brickwork;
- leaded glass windows covered by gable dormers with clapboard siding;
- fenestration pattern and style, including stained glass elements;
- hexagonal wooden tower finished in beige stucco featuring stained glass windows and capped by a wooden finial;
- west facing window on tower capped by a fanlight intersecting roofline and protected by an arched dormer;
- woodwork depicting Star of David in ceiling of rotunda;
- embellished oak balustrade on second storey gallery of rotunda;
- pitched floor in chapel;
- oak pulpit, pews, and choir seats;
- original interior elements, including hardwood floors and fittings.


Street Address: 4 Park Avenue
Community: Raymond
Boundaries: Portion of Lot 1 and 2, Block 3, Plan 5822EJ
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
10 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
5822 EJ
5822 EJ

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.460746 -112.661550 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1989/09/27

Historical Information

Built: 1928 to 1939
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Current Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect: R.B. Rolfson

The Town of Raymond was founded in 1901 by Utah businessman, Jesse Knight as part of the third wave of Mormon settlement in southern Alberta. In Knights' plans for the region, Raymond was to serve as a processing centre for the sugar beets which would be grown in the area by the new Mormon settlers. In 1903, western Canada's first sugar beet processing factory went into operation to implement this plan.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in Raymond in 1901 with the creation of the Raymond Ward as part of the Alberta Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first church was constructed in 1901 by Jesse Knight with further contributions of money, materials and labor from the community.

In July 1912, growth in the membership of the Ward led to its division into two wards divided by Broadway (the main street). The original 1901 building continued to serve the First Ward, but the newly created Second Ward was in need of its own meeting house. A two-storey white schoolhouse built in 1903 was empty and for sale and it was agreed the Second Ward would buy it. Raymond Second Ward carried on in the old school house until 1930 when it was replaced by the present structure. The new building contained classrooms for religious instruction and served as a community centre where festivals, dances and weddings are held. The production of 25 plays using this building was also part of its role as a community centre.

The Park Avenue Chapel was designed by local architect and builder, Francis Bent Rolfson. He came from American Fork, Utah in June 1901 and was present at the official dedication of the townsite in August of the same year. He became well known as an architect in southern Alberta as a result of his involvement with the construction of Central School in Lethbridge, Old Stake House in Cardston, Raymond Town Hall and churches in Taber, Stirling and Hillspring.

The original plans for the Park Avenue Chapel, however, were not Rolfson's. Instead, he had used an adaptation of plans drawn up by Pope and Burten, the architects for two of the Church of Jesus Christ's celebrated temples located in Cardston and Hawaii. The Park Avenue Chapel in Raymond and its twin church in Provo, Utah are the only two surviving of their type. The church in Provo has also been altered considerably. Neither of Rolfson's chapels in Magrath or Stirling is still standing.

The style of this building reflects the influences of English domestic architecture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This is particularly evident in the use of multi-coloured bricks arranged in a variety of patterns, in the tall chimneys and in the use of wall dormers.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0483
Designation File: DES 1571
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 31630
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1571)
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