Happy Pioneer Day! In my post on the Manti Tabernacle, I noted that I had visited the building only a week before it was covered with scaffolding for a renovation project. KSL just covered that project in an article and video on their site. (In case the link is changed, the story was titled "Manti Tabernacle restoration project underway.")
I love that the Church is carefully restoring the interior to its original appearance. The tabernacle originally had no classrooms; the congregation would divide the chapel with curtains for classes. Eventually, they decided to convert the lower floor into classrooms, which changed the chapel a bit (this information is available in the Manti Tabernacle Centennial Program). In the 1950s, a cultural hall and other offices/classrooms were added on to the back of the building.
Where the addition meets the original building
The article also notes that there are only three 19th-century buildings used for Sunday services. One is the tabernacle in Manti. I'm fairly certain that another is the tabernacle in Morgan, Utah. I'm unsure as to what the third one could be--the original chapel in Snowflake, Arizona was completed in 1884 but burned in 1941 and was replaced using the same walls. I'm assuming that does not count.
In any case, I loved some of the quotes used in the article:
“We don't have the (pioneers') journals, we might not even have photographs of them, but we have the place where they went to church every week and so these few, very few buildings that are still standing — it's important to keep them so we don't forget those memories and that story.” --Emily Utt, Historic Sites Curator
"I think restoring these old buildings helps to connect the generations together. We remember the hard work and sacrifice they put forth — it helps us to take courage and be strong when times get difficult." --Scott Hintze, local Stake Presiden
I'm glad steps are being taken to preserve this beautiful building. I am also excited to see what the finished product will look like--as they said in the video, hopefully we won't notice any difference at all.