Facebook Twitter



The Manila Ward, named at the end of the Spanish American War in honor of Manila, Philippines, will celebrate its centennial Friday.

The ward was organized on April 20, 1890, as the Pleasant Grove 3rd Ward. For eight years the members met in an old schoolhouse until a rock meeting house was completed.On Dec. 18, 1898, then-Sen. Reed Smoot attended the dedication of the meeting house and suggested the ward change its name to Manila. The Pleasant Grove 2nd Ward had changed its name to Lindon, leaving only a 1st and 3rd ward in Pleasant Grove.

Ward members accepted Smoot's suggestion. The sinking of the battleship "Maine" had been in the news, and the peace treaty had been signed in Manila, Philippines, during the week of the dedicatory meeting.

The ward name was changed, and a legacy followed. Although Manila has never been recognized as a township, it has a definite identity. "To admit being from Manila, Utah County, has been entirely different than to acknowledge connection with Pleasant Grove," said a press release.

Mail for Manila residents has the postal address of Pleasant Grove. Often friends would address letters to Manila, Utah, said Robert Monson, a chairman for the centennial. That mail would usually end up in Manila, Daggett County.

He remembers when the ward ordered black iron lettering, which said "Manilla Ward," for the Manila meeting house. (It was spelled with two l's and is still that way.)

"When the lettering didn't come, we finally sent a tracer on it," Monson said. It was sitting at the post office in Manila, Daggett County, and people there were wondering why it had come and who had ordered it, he said.

For nearly 80 years Manila was a small ward with a membership of 300. Now it boasts a Manila Stake with nine wards and a population 10 times its original size.

Anyone who has ever been in a Manila Ward is invited to the centennial celebration which begins at 6 p.m. at the Manila Church, 4000 W. 8800 North, Pleasant Grove.