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Thread: Church Rock, Utah

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Church Rock, Utah

    With majestic Colorado and Green river canyonlands, this lone roadside oddity near Monticello, called Church Rock, seldom attracts no more than a casual glance as visitors head toward Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument and the Needles district.

    One of the interesting pages of 1930's history tells about Church Rock, and how the gumdrop shaped rock earned its name. The story is that Marie Ogden's Home of the Truth, a Utopian community, was responsible. With a small band of followers, Ogden's group moved onto a tract of barren land along Utah's Route 211 in 1933. Members, abiding by a strict code of conduct, were expected to work for the common goals of the settlement. Women tended to the domestic chores and men worked the arid farm acreage.

    Not far from their farm, the group set upon a grand plan to hollow out the entire center of a sandstone remnant (by hand) to build a church. Today, the only evidence of this ambitious plan is the beginnings of a 16 by 24 foot opening chiseled into the rock.

    Church Rock, Utah

    A few miles from Church Rock are the remains of Ogden's ghost town. A few buildings and a small cemetery are all that remain of the Home of the Truth community, found on a ridge called Photograph Gap.

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Nice image and an interesting story Frank.

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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Thanks for sharing this, Frank. I've been past Newspaper Rock 5 or 6 times and don't remember seeing Church Rock.

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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Frank, very interesting story and piece of natural architecture. If I understand the story correctly it would have made quite a monumental church had they accomplished their goal. The image has amazing detail especially at full size.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Serge

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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    No no no ... this is not a church.

    This obviously a stupa.

    Church Rock, Utah

    Nice photo BTW.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Yet more evidence of the fascination of geological features in our environments.

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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    the group set upon a grand plan to hollow out the entire center of a sandstone remnant (by hand) to build a church. Today, the only evidence of this ambitious plan is the beginnings of a 16 by 24 foot opening chiseled into the rock.
    I just now remembered that this is exactly what the residents of Petra, Jordan did centuries ago. They carved huge buildings and tombs over one hundred feet tall out of the rock.

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    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Geology is facinating. I often wonder why things like church rock form in the first place. Thank you Frank for an interesting history on this location.

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    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Great image, great scenery and great story - isn't that what photography delivers when done so well!

  10. #10
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    An interesting piece as usual Frank, thanks for sharing it with us.

    This looks an interesting climb - not that I would, but my son might, except I'd be surprised if it were not protected.

    I wonder what it looks like in different seasonal weather conditions?
    Lit by sun just after a shower - with snow on (maybe it doesn't snow there?)

    Cheers,

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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Really nice photo Frank. You did a great job of capturing the colors, patterns and textures of the monolith. I will look this up next spring when I spend some time in Moab.

  12. #12
    tilde531's Avatar
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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Really nicely captured!
    (Thanks for the history lesson, too! Fascinating)

  13. #13
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    Thank you all for viewing and commenting! This is one of those things that you usually drive past and later kick yourself for not getting a photo when you could….…only this time I stopped and I’m glad I took the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by MilT0s View Post
    No no no ... this is not a church. This obviously a stupa.
    Dang Miltos! I learn something new every day! Now, thanks to your link, I know something about Buddhist religious monuments!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhoads238 View Post
    Geology is facinating. I often wonder why things like church rock form in the first place.
    From what I have read Jason, this is evidence that almost the entire North American continent was under water at one time. The layers are formed by sediment collecting on sea bottoms. Over time, weather changes cause ice ages and collect the water at the poles lowering sea levels. Years of rain have washed away most of the sediment leaving structures made in this layered fashion, like the layers in the walls of the Grand Canyon.

  14. #14

    Re: Church Rock, Utah

    I love the picture of Church Rock but the historical information about why it is called "Church Rock " is a myth. My family knew Marie Ogden since she came to San Juan County, Utah in 1933 and have grazed livestock around her community known as "Ogden Center, the Home of Truth." I took piano lessons from her in the 1950s. She attempted to build her own church about 3 miles away from Church Rock but it was never finished. She never owned the rock or attempted to build a church inside the rock. The Young family has always owned the rock and they blasted a cave in the rock to place hay and feed. The only inhabitants are rats. As explained in the two volume set of "Utah's Canyon Country-Place Names" by Steve Allen, printed by Canyon Country Press of Durango, Colorado, "In 1915 a Forest Service manuscript noted that it was 'Named for resemblance to church.' " I don't own the rock but I do own the property south of the rock in the picture. It was called Church Rock long before she came to Dry Valley. Marie Ogden was a fascinating woman, a good friend of my mothers. I last saw her in 1966 when my mother, new bride and I went to Dry Valley to introduce my wife, Clarissa to Marie. She played her grand Steinway piano in her home for us. I saw the bookcase that contain some of her "revelations." She indicated to us she would get up in the morning and write down in her three ring notebook, the question she had that day for God. She would play on her piano and the then receive from God the answer to her questions, which she then wrote in her notebook. She originally led her group to San Juan County because she believed that is where Jesus would return to earth the second time.

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