2004 Heritage Awards
Utah Heritage Foundation's annual Heritage Awards program recognizes projects, organizations, and individuals throughout the state that exemplify excellence in historic preservation. In 2004, the foundation presented nine Heritage Awards at a ceremony and dessert reception on Friday, November 5, at Salt Lake City's historic First Presbyterian Church.
As Salt Lake City's First Presbyterian Church building approached its 100th birthday, its congregation began to feel it had been both blessed and cursed with the structure. The congregation placed great value on the church's historic and architectural significance in the community. On the other hand, the building no longer met the congregation's needs and was deteriorating. Dedicated to restoring and enhancing their historic home, the First Presbyterian congregation undertook a capital campaign to fund a renovation.
The renovation addressed several key areas. Of primary concern was improving the building's structural integrity through seismic stabilization, repairing failing foundations, and rebuilding sagging floor and roof structures. Another important goal was reconfiguring space in the church's 1957 addition to provide more usable classrooms, offices, and fellowship areas.
The renovation of the church's beautiful sanctuary received special attention. The worship platform, altered in 1957, was redesigned to reflect the original plan and double the area for program presentation. Original materials, including the rich wood pews, exquisite stained glass, and incredible chandeliers were painstakingly restored. A state-of-the-art climate control system keeps the congregation comfortable. The vents for this system are cleverly hidden in the ceiling arches. A new sound system designed for cathedrals in Europe makes speakers' voices clear through a nearly invisible delivery source.
The exterior of the building was treated with great respect as well. The textured sandstone walls were gently cleaned, repaired, and sealed. To create a more welcoming entryway, layers of paint were removed from the historic oak entry doors and the iron security gates were redesigned. New lighting makes the building as impressive by night as it is by day.
The First Presbyterian Church renovation not only preserved a community landmark but created spaces in which its congregation can grow and thrive. True to the theme adopted by the congregation for its fundraising campaign, at First Presbyterian Church, "Everything Old is New Again."