As Ralph stands inside the Elyria Center, memories start flooding back—attending meetings as a child in the old brick building in the 1940s and 1950s, sliding on knees or backside on the meeting hall’s smooth wood-plank floor, enduring stifling heat indoors well before the advent of air conditioning, and hearing stories of his great-great-grandfather working as a stonemason on the construction of the tabernacle.
Oh, and there’s that eye, situated high on the wall facing the congregational seating.
“As a kid attending church here, you felt the presence of that all-seeing eye,” said Ralph.
The floors, the stonework, the eye, and everything else has been renovated, reworked, or refreshed as the Elyria Center emerges from a two-year closure for its rededication Saturday, July 28.
The community center was recently moved as a part of the construction project called Central-70, which will rebuild Interstate 70 through the community for the next several years starting this week. Along with homes and businesses, the school’s playground and the community center were also affected. Much of the building’s items have been moved, but the building itself could not be saved.
Interior colors were matched to the original tints as determined by extensive lab analysis of the many layers of paint applied to the walls. Fabrics for carpets and pew covers were matched to vintage patterns and colors, and the sometimes-swaying balconies were stabilized.
“It still feels old,” said a local member. “I love coming in here and seeing that the wood isn’t perfect, that the floors are still a little creaky. It has that old pioneer spirit while being touched up, refreshed, and cleaned.”
The center was built as one of the first community centers in the movement. Some of the original members founded the center as a part of the first missionary movement.
Chandeliers were added, modifications were made, electricity was a supplement, a pipe organ was added and pews replaced, air conditioning later followed, and folding opera-style seats salvaged replaced the original wood ones.
Featured high above the pulpit, rostrum and choir seats on the wall facing the congregation are several visual elements that some say symbolize the call of the settlers to create and sustain a self-sufficient, Zion-like community.
Those symbols include an all-seeing eye to remind that the divine plan is mindful and watching over us and a thrice-crowned crest containing the finish date, a finger pointing to heaven, a handclasp of brotherly love and the phrase “Faith & Union.”Ryan Hite President and Founder Inner and Universal Aquarian Epochal Chancellate Cell: 720-207-7943 Websites: Ryan J. Hite IUAEC Savvycards: Ryan J. Hite IUAEC Books: Amazon Createspace Wishlist: Amazon H Perks Website: H Perks Shop: Café Press Social Media: Facebook LinkedIn Instagram Tumblr Google + Youtube Pinterest Twitter