Remembering the old Ogden LDS temple

Sunday , July 06, 2014 - 3:13 PM

OGDEN -- A photo taken from a single-engine aircraft in the 1980s of the former facade of the Ogden temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still attracts a double-take by many of those who see the image.

R.B. “Bud” Willey was flying that plane and a hired photographer was in the back seat. The two had been working to photograph properties in Idaho earlier in the day.

Willey said the photograph, taken on the way in for landing at the Ogden Hinckley Airport, was a “once in a lifetime lucky shot” as the photographer only needed one frame to capture the spire of the temple in the middle of the frame.

Willey, of Kaysville, said the print still draws attention from those who see the print hanging in his home office.

And Willey said he knew right away that his photograph would become a treasure,

“I took it to Inkley’s in Layton to have it blown up to 11 by 14,” Willey said of his photo. 

“When I went to pick it up, Mr. Inkley ask me how many pictures I had to take to get that shot.”

Willey said Inkley was surprised when he told him the photographer only needed one. He was amazed.

“He said ’I took 60 shots and I didn’t get one that good,’” he recalls.

Willey said he told Inkley “I’d offer to give you one but I know that you already have one.”

He said the two of them laughed.

Some local residents also said they had memories they wanted to share of the old Ogden temple.

The remodeled version is set to open for public tours Aug. 1.

“It certainly is a much more attractive and impressive edifice,” said Dave Thomas of Ogden. “The old one was, like, ’What were they thinking?’”

"It dates from a time when many church buildings were being designed in a non-traditional way to try to make the point that the religion that worshiped in them was modern and not old fashioned. Churches were built with inverted roofs, for instance.“

Brian Hansen of South Ogden said he liked the temple better the way it was.

”We had something unique. Now it looks like about half of the other temples around the world.“

Tina Halverson of Ogden said her dad, Phil Halverson, who owned Halverson Plumbing, was the mechanical contractor on the original building and chose to actually do the work with his own hands along side his crew.

”As the father of a young family with four kids under seven, he worked countless hours,“ she said. ”It made a huge impact on me as a 7-year-old that he saw working on the temple as a privilege. The facade was total ’70s architecture, the equivalent of avocado green appliances, but that picture of my dad standing in that gleaming mechanical room in front of his work is priceless to me.“

Neil Higley of Hooper said he’s actually, going to miss the old façade of the Ogden Temple and he wonders if the old Provo temple is next in line for a remodel.

”However, I am sure that with the new remodel that has gone on, it should be able to withstand anything that will be thrown at it, and provide a more improved and meaningful visit by patrons, and for more people to choose the Ogden Temple for wedding photos.“

"I think the new design is beautifully elegant,” said Andrea Widdison of Hooper. “The old structure was probably hailed as a triumph of architectural design in its day, but it had become very dated. It always reminded me of a birthday cake with a feather stuck into it!”

”We were married in March 1999 in the Ogden Temple,“ said Cindy Brunson of West Weber. ”It was beautiful then and I am so excited to see the Eternal Marriages that will be performed there as awesome as ours was!“

You may reach JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at JaNaeFrancisSE. Like her Facebook page at SEJaNaeFrancis.

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