A Journey Back to Moab's Early Boom Days

Salt Lake Tribune, 28 March 1993

Article Summary:

Star Hall was built in 1905 by the Moab Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as an amusement hall for recreational, social, and cultural activities.

There was no architect among the craftsmen who worked on the building, but Will Shafer, a carpenter, provided a blueprint. The property was purchased for $1000 in 1884 by Randolph Stewart and Orlando Warner, a bishop and a counselor for the LDS ward. Stone for the building was hauled from Goose Island quarry.

Star Hall is termed "Richardson Romanesque" in style "because it's rough-hewn, well laid pinkish stones and round-topped windows approximate the style of the much more elaborate structures designed at the turn of the century by Henry Hobson Richardson in Boston and Cambridge."

The main entrance of Star Hall is flanked by symmetrical pairs of windows. Its big double doors have sidelights and a fanlight for enhancement.

In an interview placed in the Utah Historical Society files, an elderly Moab resident, Lydia Ann Taylor Skews, recalled "they used to serve dinners there. Everyone would furnish food... there were long tables the length of the room, and after they got the meal out of the way and cleared, they'd dance most of the night."

In 1925, the Grand County School District purchased Star Hall, making repairs and modifications suggested by Salt Lake architect Walter E. War. The school district used the building for classroom, auditorium and theater purposes.

In 1968, a major rennovation of the building was planned and supervised by the architectural firm Richardson & Richardson. The main floor was "tilted" or sloped to give a better view of a new stage. The theater had 236 seats on the main floor and 56 in the balcony. Star Hall was then used as a community center for plays, concerts and major school functions, such as graduation ceremonies.