Oakley Church & Town Hall
Few Remaining Original Churches
Many of the historical churches that once existed in Summit County are no longer with us. With the business traditions of the Mormon Church, most if not all of the original places of worship were torn down in order to channel funds into newer larger structures. There are a few however that still remain and are still in use today.
The Oakley Town Hall once served as the communities 1st place of worship for the local Latter Day Saints. Today it continues to serve the community but for a different purpose.
It was the summer of 1901, when the Oakley church president John Taylor placed a 2 dollar silver piece on the 1st cornerstone of the new chapel. With the minds, hands and money of the people that lived in the west end of the Kamas Valley, a church was built between the ongoing daily chores and work that kept the community alive.
"All summer, what work was done on my farm was done before 8:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. I was accustomed to hard work, but that was the hardest year of my life," wrote church counselor John H. Seymour.
Building the Chapel
The Mormon community pulled together whatever they had to build their 1st chapel and utilized every means possible to raise the money to build it. Plays were performed by and for the locals on a regular basis.and those who could not attend them sent along their money anyway. Daughters and mothers made quilts that were auctioned off and community dinners were cooked and served by those who, afterwards, paid for their meal again. "There was a good feeling among the people, we were building our meeting house and it seemed we were all working towards the same end, it was the happiest time of my life," wrote Seymour.
Central heating was finally added to building in the 1930s. Prior to that time a pot-bellied stove located in one corner provided ample heat for those sitting close by, but none whatsoever for those on the other side of the room.
With handmade bricks the building became the central meeting place for many memorable occasions. In the 1940s the area that served as the church became the recreation hall and an addition was built to provide a larger chapel and more classrooms.
By the 1970s the once small community was growing too big for the small church and a new building was constructed in nearby Marion. The church was sold to Lawrence Wall who left the building vacant and later rented it out as a home.
Remodeling & Creating Town Hall
In the early 1980s the town of Oakley soon found the need for a city hall and meeting space. The town purchased the building and remodeled the interior to suit the current needs. In the summer of 2001, the building was remodeled once again.
The exterior was stuccoed and the old roof replaced with tin. The old bell tower that was once used for the small school within the building was refurbished and encased in copper. An original bell from an older Oakley school was donated to the city and is now hanging and operational within the new tower.
With much of the original architecture intact the Oakley Town Hall continues to draw the community within its walls for town meetings, weddings and other local events.
By Karri Dell Hayes
Located at Milepost 18, Highway 32. View a map.