Church Donates Kane Memorial Chapel

Additional Resource

A weeklong celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the town of Kane in northwest Pennsylvania was capped off by a ceremonial transfer of the historic Kane Memorial Chapel from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Kane Historic Preservation Society.

Matthew J. Grow, director of publications in the Church History Department and author of the award-winning biography, Liberty to the Downtrodden: Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer, represented the Church in a special ceremony held at the chapel on Friday, 1 August.

The Honorable John M. Cleland, a senior judge on the McKean County Court of Common Pleas and a native of Kane, accepted the building donation on behalf of the historic society.

Judge Cleland expressed gratitude to the Church for its generous donation to the community, noting the strong ties between Kane and the Church, which began with the town’s founder, Thomas L. Kane.

“While Thomas Kane never accepted Mormon theology, he defended their religious freedom,” Judge Cleland said.

 “We are grateful to the Kane Preservation Society for its willingness to receive the chapel and continue to care for it,” said Grow.

He noted that former Church President Brigham Young and Thomas Kane forged a strong friendship that endured many years and that President Young told his friend, “I want to have your name live with the saints to all eternity. You have done a great work and you will do a greater work still.”

“We hope that the Church’s involvement for the past 44 years has helped to honor that promise by Brigham Young,” Brother Grow said.

Richard Bly, chairman of the Kane Historic Preservation Society, said, “The chapel was in serious disrepair and might not be here today if the Church had not purchased it.” The Church renovated the building in 1970. “In my opinion,” said Bly, “it is the most historic structure in Kane. This is truly a gift and an honor to be the caregiver of the property.”

The chapel was originally built in 1877 and dedicated in 1878 with funds provided from Thomas Kane’s aunt, Ann Gray Thomas, who built the chapel “in memory of her father, Thomas Leiper, her mother, and other members of the family.”

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