Facebook Twitter

Little brick church

1888 Kaysville building has housed many denominations

SHARE Little brick church

KAYSVILLE — There is a quaint little church that has seen more denominations than most people have experienced in their lives.

The old Gothic-style brick Presbyterian Church sits vacant on the corner of 100 East and Center Street in Kaysville. The Gaelic Cross that once adorned the roof and the bell that once rang in the tower are now gone.

"Dad sold the bell to pay a light bill," said Hazel Parrish, who owns the church. "And he gave the cross away to someone who came by asking about it."

Parrish recounts that her father searched for the bell until he died, but never found it.

The church was constructed in 1888 by Presbyterian missionaries who came to Utah. It was one of 51 church-run schools established in Utah by the Presbyterians, according to a history written by Doneta Gatherum.

Presbyterians also used the church as a school for a short while until an adobe school house was built to the west. Parrish recalls her aunt, Hazel Bishop, was educated within the walls of the church.

Parrish's husband, Walter Parrish, also remembers that the brick was made from a brick yard in Kaysville. This accounts for the church's unique orange, red color.

With a chuckle, Hazel points out brick that looks like it has been weathered away near the front entrance. However, it is quite the opposite.

Her brother and his friends carved out the brick to make foot and hand holds to climb the outside of the building to the bell tower. They would climb the steep incline to get the pigeons that congregated in the tower, she said.

Hazel recalls many other fond memories of the church and especially those when she was a child and of her mother.

"Mom and Dad didn't want it rented to anyone but a church," she said, explaining the strong desires of her parents.

The church has even served as a storage area for bails of shredded paper and onion bunches, even though there are many programs who have expressed interest.

At one time, Kaysville city approached Hazel and talked to her about making the small church a city museum. Others have also wanted to purchase the church to make a boutique or some kind of other small shop.

Hazel, however, has not been able to bring herself to sell the church. The property also includes a home next door, which served as a home for the pastor and sometimes a classroom.

The home is different now. A garage built out back was made from the wood flooring that was once in the church. The bricks that were falling from the chimney were made into a walkway around the home.

"They lived during the Depression days," Walter said. "You did what you had to do with what you had."

Hazel's father, Alpheus Harvey, purchased the home in 1933. A history written about the church states that it was purchased for $180, but Hazel does not know if that is correct.

The Church of the Nazarene stayed the longest, Hazel recalls. They made the most changes to the church, as well.

When it was originally built, the church was one level. The Nazarenes enclosed part of the upper south end to build two classrooms on a second level. They also added on a stage and a bathroom area to the back of the church.

Hazel said if she had the money, she would like to see the second level taken out and have the church restored to its original form.

The Korean Presbyterian Church also made its home on the corner block for a time. They made a lot of the repairs to the building and also installed electrical wiring, Hazel said.

Eventually, their congregation grew too large for the small church. The Koreans offered to buy the church, but Hazel couldn't part with it. They eventually left and built another church.

Most of the denominations have left because their congregation grew too large, Hazel said.

She tries to keep the rent reasonable, enough that she can at least pay the property taxes and do minor repairs, in hopes that again another congregation will call the small church home.

In order to do some of the more major repairs, she has applied for grants from the Utah State Historical Society.

There are wooden shingles that adorn the bell tower. Hazel estimates that they are more than 40 or 50 years old. Mortar is also cracking on the exterior of the structure, and several windows have been broken.

She has not, however, been successful in securing grants.

"A lot of people through the years would like to see it torn down, and some really want to keep it," Hazel said of the church that bears a state historical marker. "I am scared about what will happen to it when we (her and her husband) are gone."

E-mail: blee@desnews.com