BOUNTIFUL — It has stood for 152 years where Main and Center streets come together.
It has survived a ceiling collapse, damage from an east wind, multiple renovations and a plan to replace it.
It has been a school and provided shelter to a family. It has seen weddings, social events and funerals.
Bountiful’s historic tabernacle has a “special spirit,” said Lloyd Carr, in an address to participants in one of several historic tours that took place in conjunction with Bountiful Handcart Days.
Carr’s presentation started with the arrival of Perrigrine Sessions to the area in 1847. He told of how Brigham Young told the saints gathered in 1855 that the area reminded him of a Book of Mormon reference to the land, Bountiful.
The church president proposed a larger building than the one they were meeting in at the time, assigned an architect, who designed in in the Greek revival style. When it wasn’t done after six years, Young called Anson Call to see to its completion.
Young dedicated it on March 14, 1863.
According to a pamphlet prepared in 2013 to celebrate at the tabernacle’s 150th year, John Stahle’s family lived in the basement of the tabernacle while waiting for their home to be built. It was there, on Dec. 9, 1862, that their daughter, Sophia, was born.
Other interesting facts about the tabernacle:
· It couldn’t be dedicated until it was paid for, so Call made the last payment himself.
· Chandeliers were handmade with plaster casts used to decorate the ceiling.
· Benches were made of soft pine and painted, just like in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, to look like a harder wood.
· In 1906, an east wind bles off the spires off and they remained off until 1955.
· The tabernacle is the longest chapel in continuous use in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
· President Spencer W. Kimball made the decision to retain the building and renovate it, when there had been discussion about tearing it down, and dedicated the remodelled facility in 1977.
After his presentation, Carr performed Come, Come Ye Saints, and several other numbers on the tabernacle organ. He had overseen the rebuilding of the pipe organ between 1982 and 1983.
The tabernacle, he said, has been “preserved as a monument to the pioneer saints. We have a great heritage,” he said. “There is a different spirit when you come into this room.”