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Meditation Chapel, Salt Lake City

Meditation Chapel in Salt Lake City's Memory Grove Park was built by Mr. and Mrs. Ross Beason as a memorial to their son, Ross Beason, Jr., and all other Utah sons who died in World War II. The original dedication ceremony, held on July 25, 1948, was an enormous event attended by an estimated 10,000 people.

Unfortunately, Meditation Chapel has been the victim of recurring vandalism. The primary targets were four acid etched glass windows, one for each of the four armed services of the United States. Over the years these beautiful windows had been broken by gun shots and rocks. One panel was missing entirely.

In 1995 a group of concerned citizens chaired by Murray Hiatt formed the Memory Grove Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to restore and maintain in perpetuity the monuments within Memory Grove Park. It was clear to the Foundation that its first project should be to restore Meditation Chapel and its surrounding plaza. The plaza contains more than 300 granite markers each representing a Utah serviceman whose remains were never recovered after World War II.

With extensive fundraising, donations of labor, and budget appropriations from Salt Lake City and the Utah State Legislature, the project moved forward. Jenkyn Powell of Powell Brothers & Sons Glass Art, a recognized expert on "acid etched" glass, was able to restore 95 percent of the original fabric of the windows. That which he could not restore, he skillfully replicated to match the original.

Silverleaf Landscape completely renovated the plaza area. Each of the markers was removed, new landscaping was installed, and the markers were reset in a new foundation. The Naval Reserve donated labor to level and reset the flagstone walkways surrounding the markers.

Inside the chapel, the pattemed, multi-colored marble floor had suffered extensive damaged from exposure to water. Wilcom, Inc. restored the marble as much as possible by sealing badly damaged areas of the floor to prevent further deterioration and polishing the entire floor. The results are remarkable, given the original condition of the marble.

The intricately cast bronze doors to the chapel were restored by the Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation Department. Salt Lake City also donated the protective glass installed on the outside of the newly restored acid etched windows.

More than 300 people attended the rededication of Meditation Chapel on November 11, 1998 to view the results of this labor of love and congratulate the Memory Grove Foundation on the completion of its first major project. We look forward to seeing the future accomplishments of this outstanding volunteer preservation group.