The Washington Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1868. In 1875 a small adobe building was built to house the Relief Society. The building has a black lava rock foundation laid in a clay, sand mortar. The adobes were made from the Chinle formation that out cropped at what was known as the Brick Yard, south of 200 South between 2nd and 3rd East in Washington. Circa 1904 the west wing was added, forming an \”L\” plan.
The Washington Relief Society Hall is an important extant example of the Greek Revival mode. The Relief Society building is the oldest extant public building in Washington. It also is the oldest still standing Relief Society Hall in the L.D.S. Church.
The building has served variously as a church meetinghouse, post office, and co-op store. Washington City’s first Volunteer Fire Department was organized here. The Lion’s Club met there on a regular basis. Since there were no mortuaries in town it was used as a funeral parlor. Women would sit up all night to keep the cadaver as cool as possible. Babies were even born there.
The L.D.S. Church sold the property to James E. Turner in 1959. In 1983 Britt and Yvonne Kendall purchased the building and used it as a ceramic and gift shop until the Washington City Historical Society purchased the building in November 1994. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (#1980993991) on 27 August 1980.
–Compiled by Jacob Lee Eagle Scout Project 2011