Fifth Ward Meetinghouse a 114 Year Old Treasure

The saga of the Fifth Ward Meetinghouse in Salt Lake City took a tragic turn on Easter Sunday when a wrecking crew illegally demolished part of the historic building without a permit. The demolition, initiated by 300 West Holdings, LLC, owned by Jordan Atkin, sparked immediate concern and outrage within the community.

The illegal activity was abruptly halted by city planners who intervened and issued a stop order, citing the lack of proper permits for the demolition. Despite attempts by the demolition crew to claim they had permits, the city swiftly shut down the operation. Police were called to the scene as the crew hastily vacated the premises, leaving behind a scene of destruction.

Jordan Atkin, the registered manager of 300 West Holdings, LLC, expressed shock and dismay over the incident, disavowing any knowledge or involvement in the unauthorized demolition. Questions remain about how such a brazen act could occur, particularly on a significant holiday and without proper authorization.

Before the illegal demolition, the building had already shown signs of neglect, with boarded-up windows and broken infrastructure. County records indicate that property ownership had changed over the years, with the LDS Church possibly relinquishing ownership in the 1970s.

The unauthorized demolition of this historic landmark has ignited concerns within the community about the preservation of Salt Lake City's architectural heritage, especially in the face of rapid development and change. It serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of the city's history and the need for vigilant preservation efforts.

As the city addresses this egregious violation, efforts will be made to ensure that no further damage is done to the site without proper permits and inspections. The city will engage with the property owner to seek a resolution that aligns with historic preservation regulations, aiming to safeguard the remaining integrity of the Fifth Ward Meetinghouse for future generations.

The Fifth Ward Meetinghouse in Salt Lake City, a cornerstone of the local community, stood as a testament to over a century of history and evolution. Built in 1910, this red-brick structure served multiple purposes throughout its storied existence, reflecting the changing needs and demographics of the surrounding area.

Originally constructed as an LDS chapel, the building underwent numerous transformations over the years, adapting to accommodate various uses. At different points, it served as a photo studio, music venue, office space, and even housed escort services and goth/industrial nightclubs. In 2004, it found new life as a Tibetan Buddhist temple, known as Urgyen Samten Ling Gonpa, following extensive restoration efforts by dedicated volunteers.

Despite its rich history and architectural significance, the building faced neglect in its later years, with boarded-up windows and signs of disrepair evident to passersby. County records suggest that property ownership changed over time, with the LDS Church likely relinquishing control in the 1970s.

The recent unauthorized demolition of part of the historic assembly hall has sparked outrage and concern among residents, highlighting the precarious balance between development and preservation in Salt Lake City. It serves as a poignant reminder of the city's rapidly changing landscape and the need to protect its architectural heritage for future generations.

As the city grapples with this shocking breach of historic preservation regulations, efforts will be made to assess the extent of the damage and explore avenues for remediation. Community leaders and Preservation Utah alike are committed to ensuring that the remaining structure of the Fifth Ward Meetinghouse is safeguarded and that proper measures are taken to prevent further unauthorized alterations.

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