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Chapels of the Raymond Second Ward - Raymond, Alberta
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 49° 27.661 W 112° 39.711
12U E 379576 N 5480033
Quick Description: Not far south of the centre of the Town of Raymond, the second LDS Chapel in Raymond has become the Raymond Town Hall.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 9/13/2018 2:02:22 PM
Waymark Code: WMZ5K8
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member B Family
Views: 1

Long Description:
Immediately south of the second chapel is the first chapel, a two storey wood framed building built in 1903. It was first a school, then, from about 1912 to 1929 or 1930, the LDS Chapel, and, from that time until 2006 a Buddhist Temple. Today it is maintained by the town as a historic site. The second chapel remained the LDA Chapel until 1987, when a new chapel was built and this chapel sold to the Town of Raymond and turned into the town hall, council chambers and public library. Following is text from the historic marker placed in front of town hall by the LDS Church, while further below are more extensive descriptions of both buildings, from Historic Places Canada.

First Chapel
The structure behind the right wing of the second chapel is one of the oldest standing buildings in Raymond. Constructed in 1903, during the period of the town's founding, as a schoolhouse, it was used by the local school district until 1910, when a larger school was built. In 1912 the Raymond Second Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rented the schoolhouse for use as a meetinghouse, and in 1914 they purchased it from the school district. The members of the Second Ward met in this building through 1929; upon completion of a new meetinghouse, the Second Ward sold the building to a group of Japanese settlers who converted it to a Buddhist temple.

This structure stands as a monument to pioneer values of education and religion and also to the amiable diversity of the community.

Second Chapel
This distinctive three-winged chapel with central rotunda was used from 1930 to 1987 by the Raymond Second Ward and later also by the Raymond Third and Sixth Wards, three local congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Designed by local architect and Second Ward member F. B. Rolfson, the building was modeled after a unique chapel built in Provo, Utah, by architects Howard W. Burton and Hyrum C. Pope, who also designed the Cardston Temple. Constructed to replace the schoolhouse that the Second Ward had converted into a chapel and used from 1912 to 1930, ground was broken for this building on December 15, 1928. The first meeting was held here in 1930, and the structure was dedicated by Rudger Clawson, Apostle, on November 5, 1939, after all debts for the construction were paid. Latter-day Saint congregations continued to use the building until October 1987, when it was sold to the town of Raymond.

Placed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2012


The Raymond Buddhist Church is a two-storey building with a rectangular plan and a steeply-pitched gable roof. The building is painted gray with white trim and is clad in horizontal wood siding. It has a truncated tower with a decorative wooden plaque over the west side. It is located in Raymond at 35 Broadway Avenue South.

The heritage value of the Raymond Buddhist Church building lies in its association with both the Latter Day Saints and Buddhist communities in Alberta and its architectural importance as a representative example of schoolhouse and church construction in rural Alberta during the early part of the twentieth century.

The Raymond Buddhist Church is significant for its association with two religious communities: the Latter Day Saints and the Japanese Buddhists. In 1901, with the assistance of the Canadian Northwest Irrigation Company, the Knight family established a sugar beet growing and refining operation. In August of that year, the Knight family assisted 150 Latter Day Saints members in relocating to the area and the community of Raymond was founded. The area's population grew rapidly and a substantial town site quickly emerged. In 1903, the citizens of Raymond completed construction on the community's first schoolhouse. In addition to its use as a school, the Raymond Buddhist Church was also used for Latter Day Saints worship services and community events. In 1910, the school moved to a larger building, but the building continued to be used as a Latter Day Saints church and a community gathering place. In 1929, the Mormon community moved into the larger Park Avenue Chapel. The church is the only remaining original building from the period of Raymond's founding and the last original building connected to Raymond's Mormon roots.

Japanese settlers, mostly of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist faith, began arriving in the Raymond area in 1904 and quickly became an integral part of the community. In 1929, they purchased the former Latter Day Saints church for use as a temple, school and a meeting place. In 1932, a co-op store, called the Kobai Kumiai, was established in the building which provided staple products to generate revenue to support the temple. The co-op operated until the 1990s. The local Buddhist community grew dramatically after the evacuation of Japanese people from coastal British Columbia during the Second World War. A large ornate Buddhist altar was donated to the Raymond sanctuary by a British Columbia-based temple in 1946. The building hosted numerous internationally respected Buddhist spiritual leaders and members of the Raymond Buddhist community assumed leadership roles within the larger provincial and national Buddhist organizations. In 2006, the Buddhist community relocated their temple to Lethbridge, taking most of the interior decorations and ritual objects with them. Prior to the temple's relocation, the building was the oldest continually used Buddhist sanctuary in Canada.

The Raymond Buddhist Church is architecturally significant as a representative of typical schoolhouse and church construction in rural Alberta during the early part of the twentieth century. Construction of Raymond's first schoolhouse began in 1902 and was completed in 1903. Built on a simple rectangular plan, the Raymond Buddhist Church is a spartan structure with little exterior ornamentation. In its two-storey scale, it reflected the rapid growth of the community in the first years of the twentieth century and the optimistic expectations of the years to come. The building featured four rooms for classroom instruction and was adapted for use as a religious facility and gathering place. The simple design and mixed use of the Raymond Buddhist Church was typical of the kinds of public buildings erected in early 1900s Alberta.
From Historic Places Canada


The 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.

The heritage value of the 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 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 chapel is based on designs by Hyrum C. Pope and Harold W. Burton, the architects for the famed Mormon 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 Mormon 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 Mormon 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.
From Historic Places Canada

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