The restoration of the historic Provo Tabernacle is nearing completion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent over three years turning the burned out building into a sparkling new temple.
The new temple is an old piece of church history; the building served as a tabernacle for more than one hundred years. In late 2010, a fire severely damaged the building, but about a year later church leaders announced it would be rebuilt as a temple.
Church historian Emily Utt says she was surprised to see people weeping as they watched the tabernacle burn in a fire on the night of December 17, 2010.
“As we researched this building and talked to local residents, it really became obvious that this building is at the heart of community here,” she says.
In the hundred-plus years it served as a tabernacle, the building was home to many religious and community events including stake conferences, high school graduations and concerts.
Roger Jackson is the temple’s principal architect. He says he and his team tried to emulate as much of the history and architecture of the original building as possible. For example, he says, new stained glass windows were designed to look like the old ones that had burst in the fire.
“Our instructions were to have it be and feel like the historic building that it is,” Jackson says. “Everything’s new and shiny inside but it’s not really modern. It’s in the period as if, back then, they were doing what we did today.”
The Provo City Center Temple open house is scheduled to begin in January and the temple dedication is set for March 20th.