Comments about ‘Provo Tabernacle burns in four-alarm fire’

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Published: Saturday, Dec. 18 2010 7:00 a.m. MST

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Provo, UT

I've cried all morning. I have such wonderful, testimony-building memories of that place. PLEASE Provo leaders - don't let someone get the idea it needs to be torn down like Hotel Roberts and the old church on 500 West. LDS church leaders - PLEASE rebuild if you can - it's part of the fabric of our community.

Council Bluffs, IA


~ Broc

Kenneth in Texas
Killeen, TX

Such a tragic loss! Provo does not have many surviving buildings from the Mormon Pioneer Era. Even Academy Square and the oldest buildings on modern BYU campus only date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With the old Tabernacle gone, are there any buildings left built during Brigham Young's lifetime? Except for a small one-room log cabin at Pioneer Park, I do not know of any.

I like the wisdom expressed by "Liberal Ted". No mortal building is eternal. But, the countless souls who have been edified within the tabernacle's walls over the past 150 years are eternal.

Florissant, MO

Thank you all of you that are responding in a positive way. This is the week before we celebrate our Saviors Birth and it is a time for joy, not sorrow. What would have been sad, is if someone had died in this fire, so what a blessing that it didn't go up in flames tonight when hundreds were in there performing and watching. That would have been sad.

David in CA
Livermore, CA

I too hope that the Provo Tabernacle can be
re-built (restored). I lived in Provo for a while
and worked just down the street on University Avenue, while I was a BYU student. Saw a number of events there.

At one time there was talk the Provo Temple would be located next to the Provo Tabernacle, but the space there was not really large enough to accomodate the Temple in downtown, so the Temple was built where it did get built, North East of BYU.

The Provo Tabernacle is definitely a building worth
re-building and Saving!!!

God Bless Provo!!

American Fork, UT

I hope we can rebuild this landmark. I also hope we could figure out a way to demolish and rebuild much of downtown Provo.

Mchenry, IL

Isn't there insurance?

Provo, UT

The loss of the building and it's history and memories are almost too hard to verbalize- but what has not been mentioned are all the personal instruments of the professional musicians that were inside, the $100,000 grand piano, the organ and it's pipes, the Minerva Teichert on the loser back wall- the thousands and thousands of children that were held in the turret stairways- cant's write anymore...

Charlottesville, VA

To "Most Truthful": The Provo Tabernacle is on the National Register of Historic Places. So you see that its architectural and historical significance is recognized outside the LDS church.

Whether it's restored or must be completely rebuilt, it should be as true to the original as possible. Please no pathetic postmodern thing that claims to have been inspired by the original architecture while clearly despising it in favor of modernist notions. It is our disenchantment of modernism that leads us to treasure the historic charm of these old buildings.

If there's any silver lining, it is this: The organ needed replacing, and it was going to be an uphill battle to get the funding. Perhaps now a truly concert-worthy organ can be included in the rebuilt structure.

And maybe we could even rebuild it to include the central spire that it originally had so many years ago.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

Even though I'm not LDS I'm really sorry to see this historic structure be destroyed. It holds the memories of generations of people and it is a sad loss.

  • 5:02 p.m. Dec. 17, 2010
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Riverton, UT

I smell arson and a fraudulent insurance claim...let's wait and see.

Orem, UT

I played the aging organ in the Tabernacle for many years during visitor tours, and am very sad that the building is a destroyed shell especially after the beautiful $1M renovations. The wiring back then seemed old, even the wheezing, antiquated organ's. Maybe a short triggered the fire. Obviously, fire-prevention measures there were either inadequate, or the blaze too intense for them. If electrical aging was the cause, it shows that infrastructure renovation is as important as roofing, windows, etc., even though the latter's beauty is what's visible.

I also am very willing to contribute to a reconstruction fund. Hopefully there is insurance that'll help, and agree that, if it were rebuilt, it should be in the same style. But, that's for the Presiding Bishopric to decide.

The structure in Spanish Fork the Church contributed to was the Krishna Hindu temple, not a mosque, but it does show helps other faiths, even non-Christian ones.

  • 5:44 p.m. Dec. 17, 2010
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Willard, UT

Insurance will replace the old building better than new.

Charlottesville, VA

Larry, the Church is self-insured. That's just a fancy way of saying that it has figured out that it's cheaper to pay for everything itself than to pay the insurance premiums.

Oh, and about the mosque thing that people are bringing up: If there were any mosques of historical significance around, we would value them just as much. The LDS Church assisted the Hare Krishnas in building their temple in Spanish Fork, and that place is very popular with the LDS community, at least during their chalk extravaganza. Earlier this year, this newspaper highlighted the 100th anniversary of the Catholic cathedral in Salt Lake. More examples could be given, but LDS people aren't so self-centered as to only value their own buildings.

Oh, and let's be careful about calling arson. The article says that there was a lot of electrical equipment in the building the night before, and someone smelled a smell "like a hot glue gun."

Lindon, UT

Actually, the Church is self insured for (I believe) the first million dollars. After that, it does carry catastrophic insurance.

If I were a betting person, however, I would guess that the Church will rebuild and it will be a much better building in functionality, technology, comfort, and visibility that it was before. Insurance won't cover all of those upgrades so it will cost much more than the million to replace it. When the announcements are made that it will be replaced, I hope all that have expressed sadness at the loss of this building will quietly and gladly check "other" on their tithing donation slips and indicate that they want the money to go to the rebuilding of the Provo Tabernacle. I'm sure the money would be appreciated.

Just like a Phoenix, out of the it's ashes it will rise and be new again.

Magna, UT

So how DID the fire start? Didn't someone have custody of the building?

Somone mentioned the possibility of arson. Arson or not when on earth will the authorities start to seriously address the growing problem of hateful or sick pyromaniacs. The last time I heard anything of punishment for such was that a woman in Ogden, who had set fire to more than one empty house was not incarcerated but merely doing public service. When are we going to wake up and treat this problem as the extremely serious threat to life, liberty and property that it assuredely is?

Provo, UT

cactusflats: Most of the buildings downtown Prov are on the historical register and can not be demolished.

Provo, UT

Most Truthful and Patriotic : It is very true that this building is a loss to everyone. It won't be taxpayers who pay for it to be rebuilt, it will be the church members. It was the oldest historical building in Utah

Orem, UT

One more comment: Let's try to be as positive as we can, not baselessly blame the destruction on arson or hate, and just ignore the insensitive comments. It's equally, though just as little likely, that innocently careless electrical overloading by equipment caused something to smolder. Again, it seems to me that the wiring in the Tabernacle was old and frayed. Now that it's gutted, I choose to look forward and hope it'll be rebuilt earthquake resistant & etc. I feel really sad for the musicians and technicians who lost instruments and equipment in the blaze. Had I a valuable instrument, I wouldn't leave it out of my sight. Hopefully, THOSE ITEMS were insured...

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

I would hope they would rebuild the building in all its glory. However, this will be quite costly, and until a price tag is known, I can understand why the Church is hesitant to commit to that course.

There is also the fact that in rebuilding it it will have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I have been in the Provo Tabernalce at least half a dozen times, but off the top of my head can not think if such compliance was present or not, and so am not sure how this would effect the re-building.

There is also the question of whether the tabernacle as it existed was the most useful building. However, it seemed to be well used, there are enough demands for it to justify it, and its pure architectural awesomeness outweighed any other potential draw backs.

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