Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Randolph Ward Chapel Interior

Even though many people classify this building as a Tabernacle, I have not, because from what I have read, it has always only been a meetinghouse for the local ward. The interior of this building features one of my favorite set of pipes for an organ that I have seen. Very minimal and unusual in that they point downwards.

Built between 1898 and 1914, the first meeting was held in the main Chapel in November 1904 when the building was not finished, but usable. Another ten years would pass before the building was completed. Apostle George A. Smith stopped the work until all debts were paid which greatly slowed down the work. Smith would later dedicate the building on July 26, 1914.

The plaque on the building says it was remodeled in 1938. At this time an amusement hall was added behind the building while a baptismal font and furnace were installed in the basement of the original building. Total time for this remodel spanned from 1936-38. The amusement hall was demolished in a 1984-85 remodel and a large rear addition was built with a new cultural hall, classrooms and offices. The addition attached to the original Chapel at the rear and on one side providing a new entrance lobby and hallway to access the entry to the Chapel. The Chapel was also refurbished at this time.

15 S. Main
Randolph, UT
Built 1898-1914
Architect: John C. Gray
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building

7 responses

  1. Paul Slaughter

    Those actually aren’t organ pipes – it’s a set of chimes.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm

  2. Chris

    Those chimes are played by the organ, so in a sense they are organ pipes, but technically you are right. Still a very fancy display.

    January 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm

  3. seshat

    Even though many people classify this building as a Tabernacle, I have not

    What criteria make a building a tabernacle?

    Randolph, UT

    Where the heck is Randolph?

    January 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    • It is really a really remote little town in Utah just southeast of Bear Lake. There is some disagreement about what is or isn’t a tabernacle. I believe it has some to do with who helped pay for the building and some to do with who uses the building, how often and for what purpose. Tabernacles basically are more regional and serve multiple stakes for large meetings, rather than single wards for church services. To further confuse, there are also Stake Tabernacles which served only a single stake.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  4. Dr. Ronald B. Smith

    I like the broader definition of “tabernacle” applied by architect-historian Allen Roberts (1947) and quoted by Richard W. Jackson of the BYU Religious Studies Center in “Places of Worship: 150 Years of Latter-day Saint Architecture” (2003):

    “Any building that was especially large in scale and seating capacity and was spectacular in form and detailing might be called a tabernacle…by the justly proud saints who built them.”

    April 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

  5. Dr. Ronald B. Smith

    That was 1974, not 1947….

    April 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

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