Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Bountiful Tabernacle Exterior

This building is unique in that every President of the Church has spoken from its pulpit except for Joseph Smith. Ground was broken by Lorenzo Snow on Feb 11, 1857, with the first stone being laid the next day. Construction was halted and grain stored in its 6′ deep x 9′ high stone foundation during the Utah War in 1858. Built almost entirely of local material and local labor, the building cost was about $60,000. The tower is capped with a unique 5-spired steeple that was part of the original Greek Revival design. Built of adobe walls and roof timbers fastened with wooden pegs, the building was dedicated on March 14, 1863 by Heber C. Kimball at a meeting presided at by Brigham Young.

The spires were blown off the tower during a wind storm in 1906. Although repairs were attempted several times, the spires would remain off the building until they were finally replaced in 1955. A north wing with amusement hall and classrooms was added in 1925. Installation of a new pipe organ and a complete remodel happened in 1942. And a rear wing was added containing a Relief Society room, kitchen and offices in 1957.

March 14, 1963 featured a Centennial celebration, where Hugh B. Brown rededicated the building for another hundred years. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, the Tabernacle today remains the oldest chapel in continuous use in the state of Utah, if not the entire Church.

Sources:
National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
Utah History Encyclopedia
Davis Clipper

55 S. Main
Bountiful, UT
Built 1857-63
Architect: Augustus Farnham
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building

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4 responses

  1. Yet Another John

    I have always understood that the Pine Valley chapel in Pine Valley, UT just north of St. George holds the distinction of been the oldest chapel continuously in use.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm

  2. The Pine Valley Chapel was completed in 1868, just five years after this building, so it would probably qualify as the second oldest chapel in continuous use. Although I have not been there yet, from pictures it appears that Pine Valley has had fewer changes over the years, so is probably much closer to its original design than the Bountiful Tabernacle is.

    January 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm

  3. Actually, I have another source from the Church History Library that lists the Pine Valley Chapel being built in 1872-73. The 1868 date is from Mark Hamilton’s book called ‘Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning.

    January 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

  4. John

    My Great… something grandfather’s sermon was in this building, he was a survivor of the Willie handcart company, Utah war, and eventual pony express rider… his funeral sermon was given by B. H. Roberts….. William Page… a simple, great man.

    January 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm

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