In the lobby of the building that will now house the Rippy Literacy Center at 99 West Main Street is a triptych of murals showcasing scenes from Lehi’s history. The murals were painted by Utah artist William M. Johnson, in 1965-66 as part of an extensive renovation project. Johnson based his design on information from the Lehi Centennial History, published in 1950.
The north panel of the triptych celebrates the settling of Lehi as instructed by Brigham Young and includes scenes of early pioneer life. The south panel commemorates many firsts in Lehi: the first church house, the first school, early businesses, and social activities under the watchful gaze of Lehi’s first mayor, David Evans. The center panel shows Lehi as it was in the 1950’s and 60’s, featuring Lehi Elementary School, Memorial Building, Lehi Tabernacle, and the Lehi Roller Mills. The new bank building is the prominent feature of the center panel and is depicted as the link between the agricultural, industrial, and social features of the community.
Johnson’s statement on the murals reads, “We are passing into a time when personal contact with our pioneer people will no longer exist. The artist can perform the function of making real again a treasure house of pioneer past in our communities. Lehi has taken full advantage of this art form together with a Centennial history to show the following generations why they are here.”
The building itself is historical, built in 1934 at a cost of $8,000, after the State Bank of Lehi was declared sound and received approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to build a new bank building. Architect LeRoy Johnson designed and Richard J. Miller constructed the corner hugging building which housed the State Bank of Lehi, Deseret Bank, and First Security Bank before it was purchased by Lehi City to provide space for the Building, Planning and Zoning, and Engineering Departments of the city. With the expansion of City Hall, those departments moved in 2015 and the building has been renovated to begin a new chapter as the Rippy Literacy Center.