It’s an unusual sight: a structure with a dome atop rising out of the currently-under-reconstruction Riverton Park with the words ‘The Old Dome Meeting House’ emblazoned across its front. And it has many Riverton residents and motorists who drive by wondering just what it is and what it’s for.
The Old Dome Meeting House, located at 12600 South 1450 West, will be a gathering place for residents of Riverton and neighboring cities. Its unusual design is modeled around a historic building which was once where the Riverton Library is now located.
Along with the rest of the park, the Old Dome building is scheduled to open to the public on June 22. It will be available to rent for a variety of activities—everything from business meetings, museum and art shows to community gatherings, education classes and public and private celebrations. A rental fee structure will be released later this spring.
The 11,321-square-foot Old Dome building was included in the $15 million park budget. The basement has a multi-purpose room, which will be used for gatherings and trainings, as well as a second floor gallery area, which will house artifacts from the original Dome Church.
When Riverton City’s park renovation plans were approved in the spring of 2013, the city council “really wanted everything to reflect a commitment to the city and to the community and to our rich and valued heritage,” Riverton City Communications Manager Angela Trammell said. “The architect came back with the Old Dome Church in mind as that project. When everyone saw it, they just felt that was the way to go, and the city council approved the building.”
The Old Dome Church has a rich Riverton history. In 1899, a group of members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to construct a new meetinghouse. Richard Kletting—the same architect who designed the Utah State Capitol and the old Saltair Pavilion—designed the building.
Although Riverton’s community worked together to complete the project, economic hardships meant the dome took 10 years to complete. In September 1908, church services were finally held in the facility, which seated about 1,000 people.
In 1940, after only 32 years of use, the Old Dome Church was demolished due to difficulties heating and maintaining the building.
As the park project developed, community members who wanted “to reflect the heritage” of Riverton City “generously stepped up” and donated various artifacts, Trammell said.
So, in honor of the history behind the original Old Dome Church, its modern likeness will house original artifacts in its museum room, including an organ, two pieces of stained glass and a church pew.
Riverton City officials are “excited” about the Old Dome Meeting Hall, Trammell said. “We know it will be an iconic presence reflecting Riverton’s heritage.”
More information about the Old Dome Church and its history can be found in a book the city is releasing in conjunction with Riverton’s 150th birthday celebrations called “Riverton City, Utah: Looking Back 150 years.” The book is available for the public to purchase for $35 at the utility billing counter at City Hall while supplies last.