On Sunday, July 24 – exactly 157 years after President Brigham Young proclaimed, "This is the right place" – the newly completed and first-ever stake center of the Salt Lake Sugar House Stake was dedicated.
Although the Sugar House stake was created in 1943, it did not have its own stake center until now. The building, constructed by Stallings Construction Co., is located on the corner of 1100 East and 1700 South in Salt Lake City, and was designed by architect Joseph Young. The gray building, bordered with white marble trim, is a majestic sight marked by marble pillars which stand on each side of the main entrance doors.Stake Pres. Robert L. Miner welcomed the hundreds of stake members and their families and friends to the dedicatory services.
"We must unitedly give thanks to God and our leaders and realize this building will stand as an ensign to the community," he said. "The saints will meet here to receive instruction, others will enter covenants with our Lord by stepping in the waters of baptism and liberate themselves from the evils of sin and be shown the pathways to exaltation and salvation."
Regional Representative Wayne S. Peterson said the Sugar House Stake, organized by Elders Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve, needed the stake center. "I remember wards and stakes were built by members who used their own finances and strengths," he said. "Now tithing-worthy members see a building built by not swinging their own hammers or sawing boards, but by rededicating themselves to serve others by accepting assignments, whatever they may be, to serve the Kingdom of God and to move this great work forward."
Elder John E. Fowler, president of the Utah Central Area and a member of the Seventy, gave the dedicatory prayer and called for all members of the stake to return their hearts to God. "This building was constructed by vision, inspiration and revelation," he said. "By generously paying tithes and other offerings, the members of this stake dedicated this house unto the Lord."
From the time of its creation, the Sugar House Stake shared the Granite Tabernacle as stake headquarters with several other stakes.
"We met in the Granite Tabernacle (located at 2001 S. 900 East) for stake conference, high council meetings and other stake meetings," recalled Odes L. Record, a counselor in the Sugar House Stake presidency from October 1978 to June 1986, in an interview with the Church News. He has lived in the Salt Lake Sugar House Stake since it was organized.
"Our stake offices were in there," he explained. "When we first started meeting there, there were several stakes that used the tabernacle. It wasn't unusual for three high council meetings to be going on at the same time."
The building's location wasn't a particular hardship because although it was within the boundaries of the Granite Stake, it wasn't far from the Sugar House Stake.
While the tabernacle is a beautiful building, Brother Record explained that it also was a hardship on some members because of its many stairs.
No one wanted the Sugar House Stake to have a new stake center more than former Stake Pres. Glen S. Cahoon, whom Pres. Miner succeeded last March. Pres. Cahoon, who served as stake president for eight years, spoke at the dedicatory services.
"How sweet it is!" he smiled. "It is a marvelous experience for me to look out over this magnificent building to see it filled with people. I guess I could begin with `I had a dream.' "
That dream, Pres. Cahoon said, was sparked the moment he became stake president in 1986, and served with Ralph R. O'Brien and Vaughn R. Snow.
"When we became your stake presidency, we realized the Sugar House Stake didn't have what other stakes in the world had," he remembered. "We prayed in the newly remodeled Scout room of the Hawthorne Ward and it came to each of us individually and collectively as if we had been in a grove of trees, that our Father in Heaven acknowledged and indicated a new stake center be built for the Sugar House Stake.
"Every plank, every brick and every inspirational spire testifies of Jesus Christ, of God the Father, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its truthfulness," Pres. Cahoon said, his voice trembling with emotion. "As the world turns, the elements will take its toll on this building. This building is not only a structure, a spiritual giant in the community. This is a product of our Father in Heaven. He is the one who wants this building here – I did, too."