Provo Tabernacle Timeline

1856 Old Provo Tabernacle
Ground breaking

Before the Provo tabernacle was built, there 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 current tabernacle building facing Center Street. Plans for the first tabernacle began as early as 1852, though ground wasn't broken until 1856. The first tabernacle seated 1100, though more could fit with chairs added in the aisles. The tabernacle was completed in 1861, (although the final plastering and dedication of the building occurred in 1867). At the dedication, Brigham Young expressed that the tabernacle was "entirely too small" and should have been completed 12 years previously. 

1883 Provo Tabernacle
Construction Begins on New Tabernacle

The construction for the second and larger Provo tabernacle (referred to also as the Utah Stake Tabernacle or the New Provo Tabernacle) started in 1883. It was built by the LDS Church as a meeting place that would hold 3,000 individuals in its auditorium and balconies. 

August 8, 1885 Provo Tabernacle
Memorial Service Held

Memorial services held for President Ulysses S. Grant, who died July 23, 1885. The building has no doors, windows or floor and temporary seating is used.

December 4, 1885 Provo Tabernacle
Dedication of "West Room"

Dedication held of “West Room” for priesthood and auxiliary use.

April 1886 General Conference
56th Annual General Conference

56th Annual Conference of the Church held. Because of polygamy raids, none of the members of the First Presidency attended the General Conference in the Provo Tabernacle. Instead, “An Epistle of the First Presidency” was read to the congregation and then published in the newspaper in its entirety.

April 1887 General Conference
57th Annual General Conference

57th Annual Conference of the Church held.

May 7, 1891 Provo Tabernacle
Electric Lighting

Provo Tabernacle lighted for first time with incandescent electric lightbulbs.

Marcy 17, 1895 Provo Tabernacle
John Phillips Sousa

John Phillip Sousa Band performs.

March 10, 1895 Provo Tabernacle
Abraham O Smoot funeral

Abraham O. Smoot funeral held.

January 4, 1896 Provo Tabernacle

Celebration marks granting of statehood to Utah.

April 17, 1898 Provo Tabernacle

Dedication of Provo Tabernacle held. The tabernacle was dedicated on April 17, 1898, by George Q. Cannon, with church president Joseph F. Smith also in attendance. The building costs totaled USD$100,000.

January 29, 1902 Provo Tabernacle
Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Adolph Rosenbecker, conductor, performs.

August 25, 1907 Provo Tabernacle
New Pipe Organ

Organ concert by Prof. C. W. Reid marks completion of the installation of new pipe organ to replace original reed organ.

September 24, 1907 Provo Tabernacle
President William Howard Taft

President William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States, speaks.

1916 Provo Tabernacle
Metropolitan Opera Quartet Performs

Metropolitan Opera Quartet performs

1917 Provo Tabernacle
Central Tower Removed

Because the roof is sagging, the main central tower is removed. Improvements also include installation of stained glass panes to replace the original frosted glass; new plumbing facilities and some plastering and painting is completed.

1918-1919 Old Tabernacle
Old Tabernacle Razed

The foundation for the first tabernacle and nearby baptismal font were unearthed by the Office of Public Archaeology at Brigham Young University in 2012. Many coins, trinkets and other small items that had fallen through the floor boards and remained in the foundation were discovered.  The rock foundation was then disassembled and the stones were donated to Provo City.

December 2, 1938 Provo Tabernacle
Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian pianist and composer, performs concert.

1940 Provo Tabernacle
U.S. Marine Band

United States Marine Band performs.

1951 Provo Tabernacle

Tabernacle repaired, remodeled and redecorated.

1965-1967 Provo Tabernacle

Improvement project completed, which includes remodeling, renovation , landscaping, new seating, carpeting, new sound system.

September 9, 1975 Provo Tabernacle
National Register of Historic Places

Tabernacle listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

1982-1983 Provo Tabernacle

Restoration and improvements project includes repainting to replicate original décor.

December 25, 1996 Provo Tabernacle
Catholic Mass
Catholic Priest On Altar Praying During Mass

Catholics celebrate midnight mass in the Provo Tabernacle, the first time it had been used for a non-Mormon service.

December 17, 2010 Provo Tabernacle
Destroyed by Fire

A four-alarm fire was reported at the tabernacle on December 17, 2010, at 2:43 AM MST. Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the building. Firefighters initially believed they could save the roof and thus the outward structural integrity of the building, but at around 6:00 AM MST the roof collapsed. The fire continued to burn throughout the day.  According to press reports after the fire, a large painting of Jesus was found to have survived. All the figures including the background, with the exception of Jesus, in the painting were burnt by the fire. The figure of Jesus was surrounded by a clean, untouched area.

October 1, 2011 Provo City Temple
Temple Announced

LDS Church president Thomas S. Monson announced in the semi-annual general conference on October 1, 2011, that the Provo Tabernacle would be rebuilt to serve as a second temple in Provo,

2012-2016 Provo City Temple
From the Ashes

Monson stated that the temple will "include a complete restoration of the original exterior," and the artist's rendition in the press release includes the central tower from the original building. Jeffrey R. Holland presided at the groundbreaking on May 12, 2012.

During construction, the remaining tabernacle structure was fortified with six to 10 inches of reinforced concrete, combined with three rows of brick. It was supported on a structure of steel and concrete piles set at the planned altitude for the final building. Space for two below-grade stories was excavated before beginning work on the above-ground portions of the temple. The excavation went down 40 feet. With the water level between 15 and 20 feet, a large amount of water was removed in the process. Consistent with construction of most LDS temples, on March 31, 2014, a statue of the angel Moroni was installed on top of the temple.

January 15 - March 5, 2016 Provo City Temple
Open House

A public open house was held from Friday, January 15, 2016, through Saturday, March 5, 2016, excluding Sundays, and drew more than 800,000 visitors

March 20, 2016 Provo City Temple
Temple Dedication

The temple was dedicated on March 20, 2016 by Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve ApostlesRussell M. Nelson, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was in attendance at one of the three sessions. Also in attendance at one or more sessions were M. Russell Ballard and Gary E. Stevenson, both of the Quorum of the Twelve; members of the Presidency of the Seventy; members of the Seventy responsible for overseeing the church's Temple Department (Kent F. Richards, Executive Director, and Michael T. Ringwood and Larry Y. Wilson, Assistant Executive Directors); Dean M. Davies, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; and auxiliary leaders, including Bonnie L. OscarsonYoung Women General President.

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