On July 30, 1893, the South Park branch of the Mormon Church was officially organized. Due to his role in organizing the branch, Sylvester Wilson was named a presiding elder. He opened his newly built home to his neighbors, and church services were held in a large room that also served as a schoolroom. The services were opened to all neighbors, even if they weren’t members of the LDS church. Sylvester continued to preside over the church services and events until his early death in 1895. Selar Cheney became the next presiding elder and services continued in the large room in Sylvester’s cabin.

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The First LDS Church in Jackson.

In 1899, a small log church was built in Wilson and presided over by Nick Wilson and Abraham Ward (who became the owner of Nick’s hotel, renaming it the Ward Hotel). The church in Wilson did not have regular operations, but was replaced by a frame structure in 1920. In 1904, the first Mormon Church in the valley was constructed in the town of Jackson, considered something of a halfway point for many Mormon families.  The small brick building was constructed from local materials and cost $3,000.00, and the fourteen member families put up $2,500 of it, with the remaining being paid by LDS Church Headquarters. Enoch Ferrin was the presiding elder. With the construction of this church, the nearby South Park and Wilson branches were dissolved and incorporated into Jackson. In 1914 there was a brief split and a branch operated in Wilson, but they were consolidated again by 1931.

The new LDS Meeting House in Jackson.

The LDS Meeting House in Jackson, built 1942. Now the Masonic Lodge No. 48.

By 1940, the original brick building was too small for the growing membership, totaling 376 by 1943. Land across from the library was purchased and a new, larger log building was constructed. The new building was dedicated on May 10, 1942 and on June 14 the ward was organized, with James M. Robertson as the new bishop. The larger log building now included a kitchen, four classrooms, Sunday school, and a baptismal font.  The chapel doubled as a recreational hall. By 1957, the LDS membership had reached 600, and the log building was again too small. The log church was sold to the Masonic Lodge No. 48, who retain ownership today. The LDS membership would construct a new building on East Broadway, dedicated in 1963, still in use today.

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