- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

LOGAN, Utah (AP) - To say it’s the end of an era may be an understatement for any couple in Cache Valley who fell in love, shared their first dance, or participated in firesides at Logan’s Golden Toaster, an iconic LDS Church building near Utah State University.

That’s because crews have demolished the building known for sloped sides resembling a retro “flopper” toaster and once-yellow roof.

USU officials obtained the building in a land swap with the LDS Church in 2011 with the intention of putting a new university building in its place. But now, officials say the opportunity isn’t there, and USU will instead focus on renovating the Chase Fine Arts Center, located across the street from the Golden Toaster.

As part of USU’s 2011 agreement, the church must be demolished.

The carnage caught the attention of USU students as they walked to and from classes this month. Senior Trent Andrus stopped to snap cellphone photos of the demolition and said he was sad to see the building go.

“It’s a landmark,” said Andrus, whose parents met in the Golden Toaster more than 30 years ago.

According to an independent blog on LDS meeting houses, construction for the USU Stake Center, as it was to be called, started in 1961 at a cost of $700,000. It was dedicated in 1962 by USU President Daryl Chase and LDS Church President David O. Mckay.

The building hosted two chapels, a cultural hall with a basketball court, a kitchen and classroom space.

It got its name around 1970 from Johnson Smith, a USU student and president of the Latter-day Saint Student Association whose grandmother had a toaster that was shaped like the building.

Smith recalled council members discussing an activity that was to take place at the married student stake center. Being single and fairly new to the campus, Smith was unsure which building they were referring to, so he asked for clarification. When the building was identified, Smith said he responded, “Oh, yes, it looks like a golden toaster.”

“Somehow, the name just stuck,” Smith said with a laugh recently.

Smith added that what surprised him the most when he and his wife, Rhea, returned to live in Cache Valley five years ago was that people were still calling the building the Golden Toaster.

Darrin Smith, a lifelong Cache Valley resident and local historian, noted the building’s role as a “focal point” for LDS singles. Smith met his wife and danced with her there in 1983.

“Even though people weren’t part of that ward, they still went,” Smith said.

The local historian called the Golden Toaster one of the most recognized sites in Cache Valley, and said people often use it as a reference point when giving directions.

“In England, they have buildings hundreds of years old, and they stay,” Smith explained. “Here, we’re more of a build, tear down, build, tear down society. Logan has lost another building of its heritage.”

Richard West, an LDS public affairs director who served as a stake president from 2006 to 2011, called the Golden Toaster “a classic.”

West noted that the building was not well insulated and that caused problems on windy days because it was so close to Logan Canyon.

“You could almost feel the wind through the wall,” he recalled. “People said, ‘I think I can see through the cracks.’ But it was a wonderful building, and the fact that it could accommodate eight wards is remarkable.”

Johnson Smith said the thought of the Golden Toaster being torn down is hard on his wife, Rhea.

USU President Stan Albrecht reportedly told her that she could keep any artifacts from the building, including bricks.

“I think she’d like to keep every one,” Smith said.

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Information from: The Herald Journal, https://www.hjnews.com

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