Friday, December 17, 2010

Tragedy today in Provo.....

(Image courtesy of

When I turned on the news this morning, I was greatly saddened to see that the historic Provo Tabernacle had been the victim of a terrible fire.  This building has been a treasure for many generations:

In Thomas Bullock’s notes, now part of the Journal History of the Church, for 19 September 1849, one reads that on Monday, 17 September 1849, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards [the then presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], and others

“rode out from Fort Utah in three carriages, accompanied by five men on horseback, to look out a location for a town.

“They found a very eligible place, about two miles southeast of the Fort, where it was decided to build a city a mile square, to be laid off in blocks of four acres each, divided into eight lots of half an acre each, reserving the center block of four acres for a chapel and schoolhouses, the streets to be five rods wide...”

By reason of its being about “two miles southeast” of the presumed location of Fort Utah, it would appear that the present location of the Tabernacle was the “center block.”

It was originally build with a center spire, but after 30 years it was determined that the weight of the spire was too heavy for the structure and it was removed.

It housed an original 1934 painting by Minerva Teichert of Joseph and Oliver receiving the Melchizadek Priesthood from Peter, James and John that was protected by Plexiglas. 

I attended Stake Conferences there when I was getting my education at  BYU.  I loved having church in this historical building.  I even had the opportunity to sit on the stand and sing with the choir and listen to that magnificent organ.

The phenomenal woodwork was throughout out the building.

With beautiful stained glass windows.

I always loved the balcony even though the stairs seemed a bit steep.

According to KSL news, Provo fire marshal Lynn Schofield said, "All of the roof has collapsed into the structure, and now it's just a process of putting out the burning debris in the structure and getting it safe for us to go and take a look at it."  

The exterior walls are still stand as of this writing.  This building has not only been a place of worship, but also for community events and concerts.  Even BYU has used for graduation ceremonies.   

Let us hope it can be saved....

(Sources:  Historic Provo Tabernacle, The Daily Herald, and KSL)

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