By: Michael Judd Sheranian
“Murray was a desirable gathering and settling place for many different ethnicities, i.e. Greeks, Italians, Germans, and Armenians. As these groups located suitable housing within the Murray boundaries, the next most important building was a church. For Armenians, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the spiritual home, having already been converted to the church before immigration to the United States. One Armenian family in particular, the Sheranians, lived and worked in Murray. They were diligent, prosperous, and blessed to have survived the pogroms which annihilated most of their relatives left behind in the old country.
The Murray First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was an important reminder of the blessed circumstances the Sheranians found themselves in. Not only did the building provide church members a place to worship, but it was also the major place of cultural activities. This building quickly assumed an important function and identity and this was not limited to minorities only.
The Murray First Ward building became an identifiable icon in Murray through its distinct and important design and location. When one recalls what architectural elements historically defined Murray one thinks of the smelter and smoke stack, the laundry tower, and the Murray First Ward. If the historic Murray First Ward building were to be demolished, Murray will have lost two thirds of its architectural identity. It is true that the original purpose of a structure can change, but this should not condemn it to destruction. Due to advances in structural rehabilitation technology, not to mention enlightened attitudes toward historic building conservation and preservation, the Murray First Ward building can find a new purpose and function. It is extremely important to preserve the Murray First Ward building as a symbol of what made Murray the unique and desirable place it still is today.”