History of the Highland Church by Eva Buhler Turner 1991


By Eva Buhler Turner, 1991 

(With original grammar, spelling, etc.)

This building is 102 years old.  In 1888 a one room schoolhouse was built where this church is now standing.   

The schoolhouse gave the settlers a place to hold church, and so it was decided that a branch of the church should be organized. Some of the people had gone to the Third Ward in American Fork, a few to Lehi, and some to Alpine before this.  On March 13, 1893, it became a branch of the Third Ward.  The Sunday school was organized June 26, 1892.      

In 1899, James Orr of Alpine came to teach in the highland School.  He taught school eight years and taught all eight grades.  He was assisted in church work by James Brown and William Loveridge, the father of Hazel Buhler and my grandfather.

There were such a few saints in Highland and so few that attended meetings that the branch was disorganized about 1905, and the people went back to the Third Ward, Lehi and Alpine again.  My mother went to school in this building.  O.C. Day was the teacher then.  (He was the father of Wayne Day)

In 1910, another room for school had been added on, and George Zabriskie was the bishop of the ward, which had been organized again in 1915.  I went to school in this building when it had the two rooms.  I only went one year and then went to American Fork.  The room on the west faced north, and then there was a very small hall on the south and a library on the north.  The other room faced west and was on the east.  In the room on the east, there were six grades of school – six rows, and one row for for each grade.  The room that faced north was for the seventh and eight grades, and they went to American Fork for the rest of the grades.  Church was also held in this room, and the classes were in both rooms.   The only entrance was on the south and it had a porch.

The school seats were taken out and benches added.   The front of the church had a very unsightly porch that had two steps on either side coming from the east and west.   When we were attending school there, an old cow bell was used to announce recess, noon, and when school was out.   

My folks were custodians for quite a few years.   The church caught fire twice – once when they were janitors, and the second time in 1946.  We had to go to the Tabernacle for church.  An overheated furnace both fires.  The ward has been reconstructed several times.  The stage has face north, south, east, and west.  My husband and I were custodians the last time the building was remodeled.

There was a little pump house just south and west of the old porch where we got the water.  My Dad lowered me down in the well in a bucket many times to clean out the sticks and the debris that got in the water.  I trusted him and wasn’t a bit frightened.

There were two outhouses on the south way out by the fence.  In those days the church was heated by two great big black pot-bellied stoves.

The first Primary President I remember was Cora Strasburg and then Esma Strasburg.  Esma was Glen Strasburg’s Mother, and Cora an Aunt of his.  My first-grade schoolteacher was Helen Smith.  In high school she taught me sewing, and George Scott taught the seventh and eighth grades.  He was later a high school teacher in American Fork too. 

They always had a dance every time someone got married, went on a mission, or had a banquet.  There was one at least once a month.  

Relief Society was on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. and lasted all day on Work Day.  Twelve was the average attendance, until Marie Greenland became president.  (She lived where Leslie Nielsen lives now.)   That was when they started having other projects beside quilting, so more young people came, and we had the Relief Society room full.  In those days everyone knew each other, and we were just like one big family.

It became necessary to make the building bigger.   The new one had a nice recreation hall with a small but fairly usable kitchen and four classrooms on the north and entrance hall on the south.  Bishop Jerling was the Bishop and was released in 1945 and J. LeGrand Adamson became Bishop.  In 1946, a tragic fire almost burned the church to the ground, as I mentioned before.   The bishopric met with the Presiding Bishopric in Salt Lake and asked that we might tear down the walls and build a new church; but they said no and suggested that we replace the old building as it had been before with a new furnace.

The church was finished in August of 1946 (1947), and we started to raise money for a new chapel in January of 1953.  We needed $10,000 and the plans were drawn up for a new chapel, bishop’s office, classrooms, Relief Society room restrooms, new kitchen, and a Scout room.  By June the money was raised from banquets, etc., and we were ready to go ahead with the church.

On (June) 20, 1953, Merlin Larson became bishop.   The new bishopric had the responsibility of building the new churdh.  it was completed and dedicated September 26, 1954.  The Relief Society room was furnished with the money the sisters had earned cooking banquets for other wards and other projects.

In 1964, it was necessary to build again.   We had outgrown our chapel, the classrooms, and recreation hall; so that was when we remodeled again.  I think we remodeled again after that around 1975 to have the present building we now go to church in (when Bishop Black and Bishop Wright were bishops).

Highland is no longer a small ward.  When we got married in 1942, we moved to American Fork for two years and then moved back and built the home we now live in.  There were 200 people in all of Highland.  So you can see how much it has grown, with 10 wards and around 500 people in each ward.

Source: HIGHLAND HISTORY: A compilation by Charles T Greenland II for the Highland Historical Society


Highland Historical Society Home Page
Highland Historical Society Mission Statement
Highland History Chapters (compiled by: Charles T Greenland II):

  1. Highland History
  2. The 1st Highland LDS Ward
  3. History of Highland by Cora Beck Adamson
  4. Highland Residents Poem by Cora Beck Adamson
  5. Ecclesiastical History by Cora Beck Adamson
  6. Record and History of the Highland Sunday School by Ruby B. Day
  7. Highland Oldsters by O.C. Day 1959
  8. Highland Ward History by Beth Roundy Day Hyde 1954
  9. Early Recollections of Highland by Della Miller Hatch
  10. Beloved Highland by Jean Day Perkins 2005
  11. History of the Highland Church by Eva Buhler Turner 1991
  12. Water
  13. Mining
  14. The Highland School
  15. Electricity Comes to Highland
  16. Peas and Peaviners in Highland
  17. Famous Feature
  18. The People

Highland Family Histories
1958 Highland Aerial Map 
1958 Highland Homes and Families (table with addresses)
Homesteaders' Map
Highland Censuses (and LDS Ward Membership List)
Link to: David T. Durfey 1992 Master's Thesis - Aberrant Mormon Settlers: The Homesteaders of Highland, Utah