By Kent Larsen
In Queens, LDS In Former Watch School
QUEENS, NEW YORK -- A former watchmaking school is now an LDS chapel,
reports today's New York Newsday. The LDS Church purchased the former Joseph
Bulova School of Watchmaking in 1997, and after renovation, the building
opened in March as the second largest LDS building in New York City, after
the 1970s-era Lincoln Square building on Manhattan.
The school, which operated independently from Bulova, originally opened in
1945 as part of an effort by Arde Bulova, son of Bulova founder Joseph
Bulova, to help disabled veterans and ensure a steady supply of workers, who
then either worked for Bulova or were placed a jewelry stores throughout the
U.S. But over time, the number of students at the school dwindled, until
there weren't enough to keep the school going. When the school fell into
debt in the 1990s, the trustees decided to sell it.
Even after the Church's renovation, the building still retains much of the
charm that made it a Queens landmark. The georgian lobby includes two side
rooms that missionaries now use to meet with investigators. The complex is
actually a network of buildings, connected by tunnels, which the Church now
uses. Since the school's students were often disabled, the tunnels are
accessed by double-wide elevators and are wide enough for wheelchairs.
In addition to the chapel, which is in the main building, the complex
includes a large gymnasium, a swimming pool, dormitories and two
single-family houses. The houses will likely be used by missionaries, while
the swimming pool and dormatories will probably be converted to office
space, says local LDS Church spokesman Anthony Moustakas.
Now, when missionaries tract in the neighborhood, long-time residents say
they know all about the LDS chapel. Elder Matthew Oehrer says one Woodside,
New York resident told him all about it. "I said, 'Have you seen the new
church here? He gave a me a bit of his wisdom. He said, 'Hey, this used to
be Bulova watches.'" Rachel Delgado, who lives on the same block, says she
knows that she is welcome there too, "I've been invited," she said. "Maybe
one day I'll go."
Watching Over a New Flock: In a building where clock makers used to train, Mormons now pray
(Long Island) NY Newsday 4Dec00 D1
By David Scott: freelance writer