Little houses of their own: Relief Society halls

Chapel-building had a relatively late start in Mormondom. Other than the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples, there were no gathering places dedicated to worship (unless you count the groves and temporary boweries) in the New York or Ohio or Missouri or Nauvoo periods of church history. The Seventies had their Hall in Nauvoo, a log building designated a “tabernacle” was built during the Iowa passage, and once in Utah more formal tabernacles were built in some communities, particularly for stake use, but ward chapels or meetinghouses came later. These ward buildings tended to be called “halls” at first, and served for everything – worship, schools, social centers – all in the same main room, which was often the only room beyond a small vestibule, if one existed. Some larger wards, chiefly in Salt Lake City at first, built “social halls” under separate roofs from their “assembly halls” – only gradually did these two large rooms come together under the same roof.
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