Utah State Historical Society

Town leaders pledge to preserve historic Box Elder County church

By Mike Anderson, KSL TV | Posted - Feb. 17, 2020 at 4:49 p.m.

CORINNE — Town leaders said they will work to preserve a 1870s Episcopal-Methodist Church that serves as a relic of the town’s foundation by pioneers who were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“It gives me a sense of maybe what it was like before,” said Corinne Mayor Brett Merkley while standing inside the chapel. “We’re going to give it the help that it needs, with the idea that we’re going to try our very best to preserve the flavor or the historical nature of the building.”

The historic church was recently donated to the city by the Methodist Church with the understanding that it would be preserved.

While Corinne is now home to roughly 700 people, there were once thousands, and the town was known by some as the “Gentile Capital of Utah.”

The town quickly shrank after the transcontinental railroad made Ogden a more prominent spot for business.

“We have this opportunity now to preserve and carry forward to my children, and my children’s children,” Merkley said. “You’re talking late 1800s when this was established, so it’s been around a long time. One of the oldest churches in the state.”

Merkley said there are several grants that the town can apply for to pay for improvements and he hopes to see the building eventually become a gathering place and town center.

Mike Anderson

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