The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., July 27, 1951, page 2


     Elder David O. McKay of Salt Lake City, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and spiritual leader of over a million Mormon, dedicated the new Hood River ward chapel Sunday before a capacity congregation. Attending the services in addition to local church members, were church dignitaries from other communities and a host of local civic leaders and friends of the church. Elder McKay, though, complimenting local church members for their sacrifices and efforts put forth in the building of this new chapel, warned, "Beautiful is this church edifice, but it is lifeless if left alone." It is estimated that close to 900 persons were in attendance at the dedicatory ceremony services.
     Leroy K. Webster, bishop of the local ward, was in charge of the service and called upon George L. Scott, president of the Portland stake; Ben Cardwell, church building supervisor; Mrs. McKay, wife of the LDS president; and others for remarks. Seated on the platform with Bishop Webster were President and Mrs. McKay, Wesley Turner and Charles Jackson of the Hood River church, Scott and L.A. West of the Portland stake, and Cardwell.
     George Scott, whose talk preceded that of President McKay, also reminded the congregation that the churche's activities must not stop with the dedication of the new chapel." Remember," he said, "after this dedication it is still but a chapel. The dedication of your lives is what will ultimately make the dedication of this church worthwhile."
     Bishop Webster brought in for words of tribute the names of a number of those members who gave an "extra effort" in the building of the church, among them Vern Gehring, construction superintendent, Mrs. Stanley Wach and Harold Parsons. He also expressed thanks to the community with the tribute paid the church members with "such a compliment of guests for our special dedicatory Service this morning."
     The new Hood River chapel, located at 1825 May Street, consists of 8,000 square feet of floor space. The cost of the building alone was $68,000, to which was added $9,000 for inside furnishings, $4,000 in musical instruments and nearly $1,300 in landscaping. The total overall cost amounted to around $87,000. One half of the cost of the structure and its furnishings was borne by the local members, the other half being supplied by the international LDS organization. Eighty families comprise the membership of the local ward which is part of the Portland stake consisting of 75,000 Mormons.
     It was revealed that seven other buildings are now under construction in the northwest based on the "Hood River plan" of architecture, which is being recognized by the leaders of the church as an inspiring and unique style particularly suitable to the wards of this time. Throughout the country at the present time 337 chapels are now under construction with over 500 more in the process of planning and approval.
     Elder McKay hit a responsive note in the Hood River Valley audience when, in mentioning his enjoyable stay in the valley and his reaction to the beauty of the landscape, said, "I feel quite sure that if our westward leader, Brigham Young, so intrigued with this first sight of Salt Lake valley that he selected it as the "home" of the Mormons, had taken the northern route and wandered into Hood River Valley, he would have paused and said, "This is it."
     Following the dedicatory service, open house was in order that those present could inspect the new Hood River ward chapel.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer