Sunday, December 14, 2014

Preservation Update: Garland Tabernacle Celebrates 100 Years, Other Century-old Tabernacles

Note: Preservation Updates are a regularly occurring series of posts where I round up recent information on historic LDS buildings and their futures. Depending on the age of the post, there may be newer information available. Click here to see all Preservation Updates.
The Garland Tabernacle, which was dedicated in 1914, celebrated its centennial program 3 weeks ago on November 23.

The people involved have posted the video used during the program on YouTube. It includes some interviews about the tabernacle and lots of pictures of the exterior, interior, construction, and renovations:

Some things I really liked seeing was the baptismal font, the mural in the lobby of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, and the miniature pews in the primary room.

Some interesting portions about the renovation of the tabernacle came from the interview with Rober R. Jensen, former Stake President:

"In the early 1990s, while I was serving as stake president, we had some work that needed to be done on the stained glass windows in the tabernacle; some of them were broken and needed to be replaced. Also, we had some structural damage in the front facade in the tabernacle, and that required some extensive work to bring it up to code. And so, in our application to the Church for this work to be done, we proceeded to tell exactly what we needed.

"I received a call a short time later from one of the brethren in the Church Office Building, and he went over and reviewed the request for repairs with us, and then he said to me at that time, 'Well, I don't know if these will be approved, because of the age of your building. You qualify for a replacement building--a new building. How would you feel about that?'

"I said, 'Well, I can speak correctly for the members of the Garland Stake and say that we want to keep the tabernacle building.'..."

And this, from the interview with William E. Rose, another former Stake President:

"President White was the Stake President, and he had had President Spencer W. Kimball in his home as an apostle...and the tabernacle came into jeopardy of being torn down. And President White--by that time President Kimball had been sustained as President of the Church--President White called him and asked him for help to protect the tabernacle and [the] tearing down obviously never happened."

Finally, this, from the current Stake President Brent Deakin:

"...we need to realize that [the people who built this building] knew what they were doing back then; we can learn from them now.

"As we get new General Authorities that come up to visit us...they're just amazed at the beauty of the building, and we just take it for granted too often, I think."

From a study of the history of tabernacles, it's easy to see that the local leaders need to be firm and committed to protecting their buildings. Some tabernacle are now on a special list that prevents them from being destroyed; others aren't. Regardless of the status, we really should do our best to preserve and use these historic buildings.


The Garland Tabernacle had its centennial in November; the Alpine Tabernacle its centennial earlier this year. What other tabernacles have turned 100 this year?

That depends on whether you go by the beginning of construction or the date of dedication. The Kaysville Tabernacle was dedicated in 1914, but it had its centennial in 2012, 100 years after the cornerstone was laid. The Price Tabernacle was dedicated in 1914, but was torn down. The only other tabernacle that was dedicated in 1914 was the one in Randolph, Utah. 

I haven't been able to find if it had a centennial celebration (or will have one shortly). If not, it's too bad; it's a magnificent building.

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