March 13, 2024

St. John's Episcopal Church Celebrates 150 Years in New Digital Collection and Exhibit

Author: Preston Waddoups, Digital Initiatives Copywriter |

photos of St Johns church

Following the 150th anniversary of the Episcopal Church’s presence in Cache Valley, a new digital collection and exhibit that document the history of St. John’s Episcopal Church have been created through joint efforts between Utah State University and the church..

Enter the Collection

St. John’s was the first church outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be established in Cache Valley, and it has seen many changes take place both within its congregation and the Episcopal church itself during its 150 years in the valley. St. John’s held a variety of events for this anniversary, including music performances and community gatherings.

The inside of St John's Episcopal Church during a service in the 1970s

A photo of a service in St. John’s, taken in the 1970s. This photograph has been edited for enhanced viewing purposes. Courtesy of USU Special Collections & Archives.  

The digital collection and exhibit themselves are a result, in part, of St. John’s year of celebration. USU’s Special Collections and Archives (SCA) was already in possession of many materials relating to the Episcopal Church’s history in Cache Valley, but these resources had never been compiled and made accessible in a full-sized collection centered on St. John’s. The church expressed an interest to USU Libraries in having a collection on St. John’s history created, and it ultimately paid for a curator—USU history graduate student Connor Murphy—to be hired for the broader St. John’s project.

Exterior of St. John's church in 1910

A postcard of St. John’s in 1910, depicting the building prior to the additions made in the early 2000s. Courtesy of USU Special Collections & Archives. 

This project involved creating the collection as well as a digital exhibit that utilizes the collection's materials to provide a more detailed and narrative-based history of St. John’s. Murphy collected and researched materials from multiple collections in USU Libraries’ SCA as part of this project and as part of his master’s thesis project. Murphy was supported in his work by Dan Davis, the Faculty Project Advisor and Photograph Curator at SCA.  

Several other parties at USU Libraries worked together to create and publish the collection and exhibit, making them truly collaborative products of the history department, USU Libraries, and St. John’s. In addition to the already mentioned Special Collections and Archives, the collection was also made possible by efforts from Library Information Technology, Collections & Resource Sharing, the SCA Digital Stewardship team, and the Digital Initiatives unit.

People in church with books

Parishioners in front of one of St. John’s stained glass windows in the 1970s. This photograph has been edited for enhanced viewing purposes. Courtesy of USU Special Collections & Archives.  

The collection and the exhibit include timelines, photos, publications, correspondence, manuscripts, and radio broadcasts relating to the clergy and congregation. Taken as a whole, these materials create a rich historical account of St. John’s place in the religious, educational, and recreational life of Cache Valley.