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LDS Church giving original tabernacle foundation stones to Provo

Published: Wednesday, March 28 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

Workers uncover the original foundation for Provo's first tabernacle, a building known as the "old meetinghouse," near the gutted historic Provo Tabernacle Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. Students from BYU aid in the effort to dig up the old building.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

PROVO — The LDS Church will give foundation stones from the original Provo Tabernacle  to the city now that archaeological work on the site is wrapping up Saturday.

The site, next to the tabernacle building that burned more than a year ago and will be rebuilt as a temple, has been in the hands of an archaeology team from Brigham Young University. The team has been excavating and documenting the foundation of the original tabernacle, which was also known as the "Old Meetinghouse."

"Artifacts from the excavation will be displayed at BYU once they are processed and documented," said Scott Trotter, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "The stone from the foundation will be donated to Provo City to be used in community projects that honor the area’s pioneer heritage."

The archaeological project is scheduled to be completed on Saturday.

Provo spokeswoman Helen Anderson said the city is excited about the donation but does not have specific plans for the foundation stone. "We may incorporate them into a planned water feature in Pioneer Park," which is just five blocks west of the tabernacle site. Five blocks north of that park is North Park, where the stones could be incorporated with other Mormon pioneer monuments and a museum there.

"The history of Provo is important to our residents and we love to take advantage of opportunities to preserve our history," Anderson said.

The excavation site will be backfilled and prepared for the temple groundbreaking as soon as the foundation is removed, Trotter said. The date of the temple groundbreaking has not yet been announced.

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com, Twitter: SteveFidel

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