About the Article
Since this article was written, in 1993, the Star Hall was granted a place on the National Register of Historic Places and has since been transferred to the custody of Grand County. It is now under the advisement of the Star Hall Committee who searches and applies for grants and donations to fully restore the Building.

Since Star Hall has been under the direction of Grand County and the Committee it has undergone even more renovations. Among those are replacements of the roof, windows and some tuck point also repainting the interior. Rain gutters have been added to protect the foundation. The finishing of the tuck point and a new film screen are in the works. The Building is still in use and becoming more popular all the time.
Star Hall
A Journey Back to Moab's Early Boom Days by Jack Goodman
If you ventured to and through Moab before the uranium boom of the 1950s, you likely slept at the Apache Motel, downed a cup of coffee with Arches National Monument superintendent Bates Wilson, strolled the town's sandstone sidewalks, and attended to the business at hand in a county courthouse where Judge Fred Keller held forth in a building rather too grandiose for under-populated Grand County.

Heading back to the Arches Cafe for lunch, you passed and may or may not have noticed Star Hall, one of the town's few other sizeable buildings in those days.

In 1883, well before Charlie Steen made his big find and long before Mitch Melich ran the Atlas uranium mill near the Colorado River bridge, a busy chap named Leonidas Leonard Crapo had paid the Federal Land Office up in Salt Lake City $200 for the acreage at 159 E Center street in Moab. He then sold it, in 1884, for $1,000 - a rather neat profit for land held about a year. The purchasers, Randolph Stewart and Orlando Warner were the bishop and counselor respectively, of a new Latter-day saints Moab Ward. Previously, the town was none too godly, being inhabited, in part at least, by cattlemen and rowdy cowpunchers who had drifted over from Texas and Arizona.

By the time 1905 rolled around, the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) church was well established, and in need of what members and non believers alike called an "amusement hall." Steve Day cut timber, Will Shafer did the carpentry and likewise provided a blueprint. Bill Hawks, who had come to Moab to work as mason on the new courthouse, put his skills to the task of laying the stone. Will Bliss hauled from a Goose Island quarry about a mile away. Angus Stocks, a blacksmith as well as a mason worked on the construction job. Angus later was recalled by old timers as one of the town's best fiddlers and square dance callers when the Star Hall was put to proper use beginning in May 1906.

These craftsmen, with nary an architect among them, built a stone-walled hall that is now termed "Richardson Romanesque" in style. That application comes about 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. Had one of the craftsmen, perhaps Will Shafer, ever seen a Richardson building? It's certainly doubtful.

Whatever the origin, Star Hall was and is graced by symmetrical pairs of windows flanking its main entrance. Its big double doors have sidelights and a fanlight for enhancement. Inside, the Star Hall provided a large room perfect for recreational, social and cultural activities of the Moab Ward. 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."

Those lively LDS days and nights were social events for a decade or two, but in 1925 the Grand County School District purchased the building for a price stated as either $7,000 or $1. The School district then hired a well known Salt Lake architect, Walter E. War, who examined the building and suggested repairs and modifications. That was in 1925, after which Star Hall was used for classroom, auditorium and theater purposes. In 1968 another Salt Lake architectural firm, Richardson and Richardson, planned and supervised a major alteration - the "tilting" or rebuilding of the main floor. The result was a floor giving a better view of a new stage. Next came installation of 236 seats on the main floor and 56 seats in the balcony. The work gave Moab a community center which could and did provide for plays, concerts and such major school functions as graduation ceremonies.

Nowadays, the LDS church has modem buildings for such recreation as basketball games, while the schools have gymnasiums and auditoriums. But Star Hall, nearly ninety years after it's construction, remains a prime Moab meeting house for civic functions. It also serves as a concert hall and theater, as it did before the uranium boom. Now it fills the same needs during a lasting tourist boom in which Moab has river-running, bike riding and just plain "scenery-seeing" as attractions.

As for Star Hall's future - such citizen as Nancy Coularn and Lloyd Pierson, with considerable organizational support from town civic groups, have applied to the National Park Service to place the building on the National Register of Historic Places. Hopefully the Park Service will agree, which will help insure the structure against hasty demolition. Star Hall is, no matter how it came to pass, one of Utah's few late Victorian Richardsonian Romanesque buildings.