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Bountiful Tabernacle marks 150 years
by Clipper
Feb 12, 2007 | 3370 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOUNTIFUL -- This week marks the 150th anniversary of the groundbreaking of Bountiful's historic LDS Tabernacle. The tabernacle's legacy began in 1847 when Perrigrine Sessions and his family spent their first winter in what would become present-day Bountiful. The following year, more families moved into the area, forming a small community, known as the Sessions Settlement.

For their religious meetings, the community met in various homes, until a small log house was built. This log house was built not only for worshipping, but also for the community's school and social hall.

On Feb. 27, 1855, Brigham Young gave this community the name of Bountiful, and the area began to bloom.

As the community of Bountiful grew, it was decided that a larger meetinghouse was needed. It was then that Apostle Lorenzo Snow dedicated the site where the Bountiful Tabernacle stands today.

According to historical records from a variety of sources, including journals, newspaper articles and LDS church archives, the actual groundbreaking took place on Feb. 11 and 12 in 1857.

Bishop John Stoker, along with Apostle Lorenzo Snow deemed the area a suitable place for the meetinghouse, and work began immediately.

In fact, the morning following the groundbreaking, the first rocks for the foundation were laid.

The people of Bountiful came together to begin the building's construction. Assignments were given out and progress was made.

Logs from nearby canyons were hauled onto the site. Much of the timber came from Holbrook Canyon in an area known as "Meetinghouse Hollow." Lime rock came from the Hot Springs area of North Salt Lake. Adobe bricks were used to create the three-foot thick walls.

It was not long after construction began that the town heard that Johnston's Army was coming.

The people were told to leave everything and go south. Following this instruction, the people left, hiding the tabernacle's foundation with their storage wheat. No trace of the building could be seen. It wasn't until three months later that the people returned.

Construction continued with the help of many. Countless craftsmen throughout the community brought their trades. There were rock and brick masons, carpenters, plasterers and painters. Others brought their skills in hand carving, paneling and the design and fabrication of the winding stairways.

As construction came to an end, the building's final feature was the mural of the Prophet Joseph Smith, by a young artist Daniel Weggeland. Weggeland, a convert from Norway, was engaged by Brigham Young to execute this painting, which portrays the Prophet gazing out onto the promised land.

The mural is now located in the Museum of Church History and Art of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The tabernacle has aged with grace and beauty, and after 150 years of history has become a legacy of Bountiful.

On Sunday, the Bountiful Utah Stake celebrated the 150th anniversary with a special meeting, which was filled with stories and photographs of the historic groundbreaking event.

In June, the Bountiful Utah Stake will hold a reenactment of the tabernacle's beginning. All citizens are asked to come forward with stories, photographs and journals of the event.

For more information, contact Tom Tolman, 292-1981.
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