Provo Tabernacle on Fire

By December 17, 2010

The Provo Tabernacle caught fire this morning at 2:45 am (Mountain Time) and is still currently up in flames. The major newspapers aren’t reporting on the fire yet, and the cause of the fire is still unknown at this point.

According to, “Provo Fire Battalion Chief Lynn Scofield says the part of the roof has collapsed, and the fire has spread to most of the building.  He says there’s a chance that the building will be a total loss.”

This makes me sick, as the Tabernacle is a really beautiful building with significant historical meaning. Construction began in 1883, and although it was not completed until 1898, the Church’s General Conference was held in the building in 1886 and 1887. Attending Stake Conference there and driving by on a daily basis stand out among the many good memories from the six years I spent living in Provo.

[I rushed to get this post up this morning before leaving the house. I see now that Ardis also posted on this early this morning at Keepapitchinin and her post contains links to the several news organizations reporting on it now.]

Article filed under Current Events Reflective Posts


  1. Gosh, this sucks. I also attended several stake conferences there.

    Comment by David G. — December 17, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  2. This is absolutely horrible. Now that there are only a few beautiful tabernacles still remaining, it is even worse.

    What makes this even more unfortunate is that the building probably holds a place of endearment with lots of Mormons–perhaps more than any other tabernacle, excluding the one on Temple Square in SLC. Thirty thousand students at BYU at any given time and almost all of them had some form of meeting in the building, most likely stake conference at some time or another.

    Truly a sad loss.

    Comment by Ben — December 17, 2010 @ 10:07 am

  3. So many graduations of the smaller colleges … so many Messiah sing-alongs …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 17, 2010 @ 10:11 am

  4. Seems like an equivalent for BYU students of the Boston Longfellow chapel. Part of you seems to pass away with these structures. I’m saddened by your loss.

    Comment by smb — December 17, 2010 @ 10:35 am

  5. Horrible. So many memories. Namely, this is where my wife and I first met. Then for the first three years after we were married we lived just two blocks from the Tabernacle.

    Comment by Clean Cut — December 17, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  6. Damn, damn, damn. Such a beautiful building. It’s probably too early to tell, but I really hope the Church will choose to restore it — not replace it with… whatever.

    Comment by Latter-day Guy — December 17, 2010 @ 10:55 am

  7. This really is heart-rending. What would make it worse is if it were intentional.

    Comment by SC Taysom — December 17, 2010 @ 10:56 am

  8. I think you’re right, Sam. I was reminded of the Longfellow chapel when I first heard this news this morning.

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your own memories of the building.

    Comment by Christopher — December 17, 2010 @ 11:05 am

  9. Wow. As well as many stake conferences, some of my fondest memories from my mission were attending and participating in the annual Utah Provo Mission Christmas concert in the Tabernacle. This is a tremendous loss. Thanks for the report, Chris.

    Comment by Jared T. — December 17, 2010 @ 11:06 am

  10. MHA has been in there too.

    It was beautiful.

    Comment by Mark Ashurst-McGee — December 17, 2010 @ 11:07 am

  11. Somebody linked to a woman’s Youtube footage:

    President Monson has also included this building in some of his stories.

    Comment by Zak — December 17, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  12. South Provo temple, here we come!

    Comment by John C. — December 17, 2010 @ 11:21 am

  13. I doubt they’ll make it a temple but I’d be amazingly surprised if it weren’t rebuilt.

    Comment by Clark — December 17, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  14. Does the Cburcb still own it? Many of the old tabernacles are owned by other entities.

    Comment by Chris H. — December 17, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  15. The church does still own it, Chris.

    Comment by Russell Arben Fox — December 17, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  16. 🙁

    Comment by BHodges — December 17, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

  17. Wretched. It breaks my heart to see such a pioneer treasure go up in smoke; there are so few left. In the 70s when the church was divesting itself of so many older properties, there was talk of selling the Provo Tabernacle lot for the construction of a JCPenny or a Sears (at least that’s what my brother told me who’s been a city planner at Provo for several years), so I’m glad to at least see that it made it this far. But still tragic.

    Comment by Michael T. — December 17, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  18. Ironically, the new BYU-Idaho Center, something of a 21st-century equivalent of the old tabernacles, is being dedicated this morning. As a new building, it’s not yet filled with memory, and as a much larger building, it will be much harder to fill.

    Comment by Jonathan Green — December 17, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  19. Sam, my heart broke when I heard of the Longfellow Chapel, since I have so many memories there. My Provo Tabernacle memories aren’t nearly as personal, but I was raised in south Utah County – and driving by the tabernacle whenever I was in Provo was awe-inspiring. What a magnificent building!

    I was just as heartsick when I saw the picture on Keepa as I was when I heard about Longfellow.

    Comment by Ray — December 17, 2010 @ 4:59 pm


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