Additional Resource

Provo Tabernacle Historical Fact Sheet

This page contains important historical information about the Provo Tabernacle, which burned in 2010 and has since been turned into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 150th temple around the world.

First Provo Tabernacle

  • Predating the existing Provo Tabernacle was a smaller tabernacle (sometimes called the Old Provo Tabernacle) that stood from 1861-1919 on the same block, and was situated north of the location of the new temple which faces Center Street.
  • Plans for the first tabernacle began as early as 1852, though ground wasn't broken until 1856.
  • The tabernacle was dedicated August 24, 1867.
  • The tabernacle was razed in 1919.


  • A baptistry, built around 1875, was discovered on the Provo Tabernacle’s site during site preparation for the Provo City Center Temple.
  • The baptistry included a five-by-nine-foot font.
  • The font floor had three layers of wood laid in crisscross fashion and was held together with nails and screws. As the screws were tightened, the wood was pulled together to form a floor solid enough to hold water.
  • The excavation unearthed a water pipe used to fill the font and a drain to empty it.
  • In early baptistry photographs a chimney is shown, which archaeologists believe vented a stove that heated the water to make the facility usable year-round.
  • Large quantities of painted plaster fragments were also discovered, revealing the original sky-blue color of the baptistry’s interior walls.
  • Church historians identified the location of the early baptistry using fire insurance maps dated from the 1880s to 1910.

Provo Tabernacle

  • Ground was broken for the Provo Tabernacle in 1882.
  • The Provo Tabernacle was dedicated in 1898. It was a historic treasure for the Church.
  • The tabernacle was constructed from 1883 to 1898 at a cost of $100,000.
  • U.S. President William H. Taft visited and spoke in the tabernacle September 24, 1909.
  • The tabernacle was used for Church meetings and conferences and cultural events, such as Handel's Messiah each year at Christmastime.
  • The tabernacle was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
  • The tabernacle was modified several times over its century of use, but the historic character remained.
  • The last renovation took place in 1986; President Thomas S. Monson, then second counselor in the First Presidency, rededicated the tabernacle.
  • The Provo Tabernacle burned on December 17, 2010.

Post-Fire Developments

  • The structure was preserved despite the damage.
  • The tabernacle’s pulpit was saved and is now installed in the Provo City Center Temple’s chapel.
  • The Church spent several months stabilizing the surviving structure and combing through every inch of debris looking for clues and information about the history of the building, changes over time, design and construction.
  • Review of the Church archives revealed the tabernacle was not well documented. The building is now among the best documented buildings in the Church. This intensive level of preservation research was possible because of the fire.
  • The level of intensive documentation and preservation would not have been possible without true collaboration between multiple Church departments and consultants.
  • Visit for additional historical information.

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