The Logandale Chapel Is Gone

All flesh is grass, and all wood and rock is too.

The histories of mining towns seem to often involve burning down twice and rebuilding once. In 1949, the day before she turned two-years-old, my mother and her three-year-old brother were playing with fire and gutted their family’s house. For a year or so, the family dwelt in makeshift quarters including a shack with walls built from stacked steel ammo boxes. Some land was swapped, and the family ended up in a house 400 yards from their old house, and the lot where my great-grandparents had lived, and then my grandparents, became the site for a church for the Logandale Ward of the Moapa Stake. Evenings and Saturdays, men mixed concrete and poured it into forms to create blocks, with which they built the walls of the church. My grandfather wired it, as he had most every building in town. The chapel was erected over the spot where my family’s small house previously stood.

When I read yesterday of the destruction of that chapel that morning, I wasn’t sure what I felt. Minutes later my wife called on the phone, and I began “The LDS church in Logandale . . .” I couldn’t continue the sentence. I hung up and found a private place to shed a few tears. I called my wife back and told her everything I knew about that building, all the funerals I’d attended there. I called my oldest living uncle last night. the one who escorted me through the St. George Temple when I was endowed, and talked with him a while. Why do we care about old buildings? In this case, because it was a part of my mother and grandparents’ lives. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them, and I miss them so much right now. It’s also because of a love not just of individuals, but also of communities.

All is grass.

The woman identified in this Review-Journal article as the oldest member of the church in Logandale is my grandfather’s sister-in-law. Ace Robison, the stake president, was in the news a few months back in his role as board chairman of the proposed Desert Valley Academy.

For a different regional variation on some of what I’m feeling right now, I recommend Mary Chapin Carpenter’s aching and beautiful “I Am a Town”

This entry was posted in General by John Mansfield. Bookmark the permalink.

About John Mansfield

Mansfield in the desertA third-generation southern Nevadan, I have lived in exile most of my life in such places as Los Alamos, Baltimore, Los Angeles, the western suburbs of Detroit, and currently the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. I work as a fluid dynamics engineer. I was baptized at age twelve in the font of the Las Vegas Nevada Central Stake Center, and on my nineteenth birthday I received the endowment in the St. George Temple. I served as a missionary mostly in the Patagonia of Argentina from 1985 to 1987. My true calling in the Church seems to be working with Cub Scouts, whom I have served in different capacities in four states most years since 1992. (My oldest boy turned eight in 2004.) I also currently teach Sunday School to the thirteen-year-olds. I hold degrees from two universities named for men who died in the 1870s, the Brigham Young University and the Johns Hopkins University. My wife is Elizabeth Pack Mansfield, who comes from New Mexico's north central mountains and studied molecular biology at the same two schools I attended. We have four sons, whose care and admonition, along with care of my aged father, require much of Elizabeth's time. She currently serves the Church as Mia-Maid advisor, ward music chairman, and choir director, and plays violin whenever she can. One day, I would like to make shoes.

6 thoughts on “The Logandale Chapel Is Gone

  1. I love visiting the older chapels that are filled with so much character and so many stories. I’m sorry I could never visit this one.

  2. Wow! That first line should be in a poem, if it isn’t already.

    What a beautiful and touching post. As I was reading the post, I couldn’t help but think of the old rock meetinghouse in Kaysville, UT. I was so young when I lived in Kaysville, but I loved that building.

    As the Church grows, we lose some of our heritage with the older buildings built and paid for by the members. Today, we attend beautiful buildings–paid for by members–but constructed and built by contractors.

  3. i used to live in East Lansing, Michigan and a little more than 4 years ago sometone burned down our stake center in the middle of the night. It wasn’t as old as the Logandale chapel but the memories were just as sweet to us. My heart always breaks a little when I hear about one of our chapels, old or new, burning down. I know exactly how the Saints in Logandale feel. I hope no other wards or stakes know that heartbreak. God Bless the Saints in Logandale.

  4. Thank you, John, for putting into words much of what I feel when I enter an old building or remember that this place once stood where the bank is now, or that event happened on the corner across the street.

    And special condolences from one Southern Nevadan to another.

  5. I attended church in the Logandale chapel for ten years, and like so many others have fond memories of people and events there. The building had a unique character from the cozy, rectangular chapel to the nooks and crannies and “hidden passages” that resulted from a series of building additions. No one who went through the Halloween haunted house in the basement “catacombs” will ever forget it. I suppose the Christmas nativity and scenery used every year are long gone in the ashes. Baptisms, baby blessings, stake conferences, wedding receptions…

Comments are closed.