Provo Tabernacle burns in four-alarm fire

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  • Leah Snowflake, AZ
    Jan. 5, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    Looking at the box to leave a comment and all of a sudden I am speechless. I would have to agree with Ciaobello, I am just heartsick.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 20, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    MT and P,
    First off, Mayor Buillings is no longer in office.

    Secondly, while the loss is felt most heavily by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this building has been used for inter-faith services, for concerts that were not sponsored by a specific religious organization and were aimed at a broad range of residents, and for other events and activities that benefitted people of many faiths or not faith at all.

    Beyond this, I have seen no suggestion that tax money be sued to rebuild it. If the government were to take that course, they should buy the land and then re-build the building. If The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints retains the land, a combination of Church money with possibly voluntary donations from other groups should be used.

  • Linda S. Orem, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2010 2:05 p.m.

    My understanding of what happened with the Vernal Tabernacle / Temple is that it ended up costing the church far more than expected, and being a far greater headache than expected. I heard that the situation with the Vernal Tabernacle was part of what kept the church from wanting to be involved in the BYU Academy Building. Fortunately The Academy was saved because of community support. If there is any possibility of saving the Provo Tabernacle it will definitely have to be because of community support. It needs to be rallied soon SOON however. We don't want another Coalville Tabernacle or Kolob Chapel on any of our consciences because we step step in and try to fight.

    Correct me if I'm wrong with what I've heard on any of these stories.

    Let this not become another parking lot for Nu Skin!!!!! :((((((((((((

  • Linda S. Orem, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2010 2:04 p.m.

    I remember well the controversy over the Coalville Tabernacle. More recently is the Kolob (Springville) Chapel that was torn down in spite of merely minimal damage. Fortunately, the Kaysville Chapel was recently saved because enough support was raised. My own chapel the historic 800 So. chapel in Orem, has survived over the years survived only by the skin of it's teeth.

  • Linda S. Orem, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2010 2:02 p.m.

    People let's please not be naive - the church is not going to save the Provo Tabernacle unless we get involved and get involved NOW! Remember the Coalville Tabernacle being torn down in the middle of the night? Remember the Salt Lake Theater? The Kolob (Springville) Chapel recently got raized in spite of minimal damage. LET'S NOT BE NAIVE!!!

  • MrsDownhomeAmerica Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 20, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    Is there a place where we may contribute, not only to rebuilding the tabernacle, but also to those whose instruments and livlihood have been lost?

    I hope we will all also look around us at the buned out relics of human beings we often see, and with some determination make an effort to make them whole, as well.
    "He was someones's little baby, he was some mother's son, once he was fair, once he was young. . ."

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Dec. 19, 2010 1:04 a.m.


    Given the other 3 fires (SLC and (CO?)) at LDS chapels lately, it makes you wonder....

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 18, 2010 5:14 p.m.

    I have to say I hope they re-build the building as is. I think it is nice to have something that harkens back to 19th century Provo in the down-town. I also think the park-like area on the north side of the tabernacle is a nice touch.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 18, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    I once sang with a BYU choir at the tabernacle. It was summer term, our fall term concert was in the De Jong Concert Hall, but attendance was lower, and also we may have in the summer spent some of our prep-time outside, which is not as popular a place in the winter. Anyway, it was the non-attidion choir, so in winter term there were actually two choirs performing in the same concert while summer term there was just one choir.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 18, 2010 4:52 p.m.

    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.

  • Helge Orem, UT
    Dec. 18, 2010 2:36 p.m.

    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...

  • snowman Provo, UT
    Dec. 18, 2010 9:17 a.m.

    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

  • snowman Provo, UT
    Dec. 18, 2010 9:14 a.m.

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

  • madison Magna, UT
    Dec. 18, 2010 8:14 a.m.

    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?

  • Pittakos Lindon, UT
    Dec. 18, 2010 5:57 a.m.

    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.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Dec. 17, 2010 7:59 p.m.

    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."

  • Larry Willard, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 7:27 p.m.

    Insurance will replace the old building better than new.

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

    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.

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

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

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 17, 2010 5:02 p.m.

    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.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Dec. 17, 2010 4:15 p.m.

    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.

  • kiaoraguy Provo, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 3:58 p.m.

    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...

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Dec. 17, 2010 3:29 p.m.

    Isn't there insurance?

  • cactusflats American Fork, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 3:07 p.m.

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

  • David in CA Livermore, CA
    Dec. 17, 2010 2:58 p.m.

    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!!

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Dec. 17, 2010 2:36 p.m.

    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.

  • Kenneth in Texas Killeen, TX
    Dec. 17, 2010 2:01 p.m.

    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.

  • Broc9 Council Bluffs, IA
    Dec. 17, 2010 1:47 p.m.


    ~ Broc

  • Dorothy Provo, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    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.

  • sniggy Payson, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 1:33 p.m.

    One of the most beautiful landmarks in the State. I sure hope the L.D.S. church restores this building. It has taken on a character of it's own over the years. Sacred ground to walk on so to speak.

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 12:54 p.m.

    How sad! I've only been inside a few times, but that building feels like the heart and soul of Provo.

  • jane Hereford, AZ
    Dec. 17, 2010 12:22 p.m.

    I, too, love historic buildings. The Provo Tabernacle was to Provo what Bruton Parish Church (which my mother attended) is to Colonial Williamsburg. May it, please, be rebuilt. Let us know where and when we can donate, just as soon as the information is available.

    I, like Liberal Ted, am grateful no lives were lost. But that building was a repository of the memories of thousands of living people, like me. My son graduated from BYU Law School in that building and I shall never forget the deep joy of that moment as he picked up the torch passed to him by my late grandfather and great-grandfathers, all of whom served people through the practice of law.

    The Provo Tabernacle was a symbol of that joy to our family and to the many other families it has served so well over all these years. We are mourning.

  • Ammyn Philadelphia, PA
    Dec. 17, 2010 12:03 p.m.

    Hopefully it can be rebuilt, and this time with a strong enough roof to support a replica of the original clock tower. Then it could look the way it originally did.

    Dec. 17, 2010 11:47 a.m.

    I also hope it's rebuilt.

  • Bay Area Dude San Ramon, CA
    Dec. 17, 2010 11:27 a.m.

    Where do we donate to rebuild?
    Where do we donate to rebuild?
    Where do we donate to rebuild?

    That building means way, way too much to so many people to not build an even more up to date replica of the original. Let's get the best custom craftsmen together now. Make it look like it once did. We will never regret the $$ we donate on this...just like those who built it in the first place. It's the heart of tne Provo we know and love.

  • graficoartista Orem, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    I am listening to Fox 13 right now about this. The LDS Church issued a comment about it and the sad loss. I am very sad. My Great Great Grandfather John Peter Rasmus Johnson had a lot of input on the building of that structure.
    The comment made above about hpyothetically if other non lds structure burned. The LDS Church would be the first in line handing out Millions of Dollars to rebuild. The LDS Church donated more than half of the require money to help the Catholic Church of the Madaline be updated more than a decade ago. The mosque in Spanish Fork is a very beautiful structure. Not only does the LDS Church help contribute funds, but all ALL of the religious communities in Utah help. There is a wonderful sense of community in all of the different religious communities.

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 11:14 a.m.

    I'm not LDS, but I love significant historic buildings, so yes, I would put some money in the pot for rebuilding.

  • Herbie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 11:13 a.m.

    Most Truthful,
    Do you REALLY think that Mayor Billings meant "everyone", like everyone in the world? Or even everyone in Utah or Provo. While the generalized statement might confuse some, others understand what was meant by it.

  • bilbo Mayer, AZ
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:57 a.m.

    public subscription has not one thing to do with taxpayer money.
    it is members of public offering funds to underwrite the reconstruction of tabernacle. your hatred is shining through like a cheap flashlight.

  • Most Truthful and Patriotic Layton, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:41 a.m.

    Owl, rebuild it with CHURCH subscription.

    It is not the taxpayer's responsibility to rebuild your church, nor is it the responsibility of non-LDS to do so.

    Mayor Billings says it's a loss to "everyone". Untrue. While it's a beautiful building and a tragic loss to many, others weren't even aware of the building.

    Would you all react the same way, if a Mosque had burned?

  • Resident Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:30 a.m.

    Sad day, but I hope it does not have to be a "loss." I agree with those who say we should rebuild it and preserve the history. Would still be a historic site and an opportuinty to put beautiful pictures of what it once was in the new building for future generations to see.

  • Kari Broken Arrow, OK
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:28 a.m.

    What heartbreaking news. I know people outside of Utah would be happy to donate funds to help rebuild it.

  • Snark Provo, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:25 a.m.

    Our Stake had it's annual Stake Christmas Music Fireside in that grand building Sunday evening, which we have done for many years. We also hold Stake Conferences there. There was an original Minerva Teichert painting in the building, and the woodwork was exquisite! It also had a magnificent pipe organ. We are so saddened by the loss of this significant historical treasure.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    So very sad. How can you rebuild pioneer history? Perhaps it should be rebuilt as a symbol of hope. No matter how bad or irreplaceable things get, there are other avenues to follow.

  • ciaobello Concord, CA
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:12 a.m.

    I'm heartsick.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:12 a.m.

    Rebuild it with public subscription and do it now.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:10 a.m.

    As sad as it is to lose a building, especially of historic importance and has been a large part of soo many lives. In the end it was just a building. It was the people that made it memorable. I didn't see in the report of anyone hurt from the fire, so that is good news.

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:04 a.m.

    This is almost as sad an occasion as the first time I was ever in the Tabernacle when they held the funerals for a number of Local Boy Scouts killed in an accident near Escalante, Utah while on a Camping trip. I will never forget the outpouring of the spirit of that occassion. Sad that now that Holy building with all it's many wonderful memories may forever be lost. Truly sad.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 10:03 a.m.

    What a shame to lose such a structure.

    They'll rebuild it, yet much bigger and more modern while keeping what pieces of the facade they can. The building, while purposeful and a wonderful piece of history, was hardly able to handle a Stake in capacity. This will give the Provo Saints a chance to have a larger building that can accomodate more people. The Church will handle it all very appropriately.

  • apache1 Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:48 a.m.

    I am deeply saddened to learn of the fire that has gutted the much beloved and historic Provo Tabernacle. The building appears to be a total loss, I am very pleased however that there has been no loss of life. I am hopeful that prehaps the building can be salvaged and that it can be updated with a new sprinkler syatem that will help contain a fire of this magnitude in the future. I will be following this story closely and should the building be able to be rebuilt and a community fund drive is started, I will have my checkbook at the ready.

  • fcbenjamin Chittenango, NY
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:41 a.m.

    I am not a member of the LDS faith, but I DO value our diminishing connections to our past. I lived 22 years in Utah, and many of the older tabernacles are beautiful and inspirational. I am saddened by the fire, but I fully agree with what many have posted: save what can be saved for the sake of the historic connection, and rebuild if at all humanly possible. God be with you.

  • PDX Hillsboro, OR
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:40 a.m.

    Please rebuild! Please! Very sad day.

  • SumBuddy Ogden, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:35 a.m.

    Wow that is too bad. It is an interesting note that it took 15 years to build. Man that is a long time and a lot of hard work back in the day I'm sure. Never been into this building but I can imagine those that had ties to it.

  • Democrat Provo, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:29 a.m.

    This one really tears at my heart. Provo is one town in Utah Vally that hasn't let the developers run roughshod over everything. University Avenue has real class and this a terrible disaster.

  • maidenwings westvalley, Utah
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:25 a.m.

    What a Loss to Provo one part
    of history that can never be replaced!!!!
    community also the state of utah
    Its now a total loss,as a cause of maybe arson?

  • Keith43 Highlands Ranch, CO
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:19 a.m.

    If at all possible, it should definitely be rebuilt. And I'm sure there's a lot of people like myself who would be willing to contribute to the cause. Gather the wagons Provo!

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    Dec. 17, 2010 9:16 a.m.

    Please rebuild. This building is a treasure.

  • rogerdpack Orem, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:57 a.m.

    so sad! The tabernacle was classic...

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:51 a.m.

    Wasn't there a fire alarm system in the building? Modern alarm systems can be wired direct to fire dispatch.

    And what of the reports of people in the building last evening who thought they smelled something?

    There's a great lesson here --- NEVER ignore a strange, hot, smell. Call the fire department. Fire fighters would much rather make a dry run than face an inferno any day. And with modern equipment, like infrared detectors, it's possible to find smoldering fires before they break out and destroy a building.

    This is a lesson for all of us in our homes, too. Are your sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working?

  • anchorageles Ventura, CA
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:40 a.m.

    I'am so,so sorry to hear about the fire, but as a person who has been in construction for most of my life I see that all is not lost....we can re-bulid and forgive me in saying ...but more than likely better than before...somehow I hope the Lord calls me to help in re-buliding.... it would be one of the biggest blessings I have ever recieved (except for my children)......I live all the way in California, but still if I was called I would be there,and in any case if I,am not there I surely will be there in spirt....God bless all!
    Les Metcalf 3rd.ward Ventura,Ca.

  • GAmom Athens, GA
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:39 a.m.

    So sad and such a loss to the community.

  • Gilgamesh West Valley City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:39 a.m.

    Looking at the pictures, the 3 manual pipe organ in the building is surely a total loss.

  • JJ1094 Saratoga, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:36 a.m.

    Deep sadness at the loss of such a cornerstone to the community and Utah. In some way, I hope it can be repaired or rebuilt.

  • Barack Obama Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:34 a.m.

    I hope they salvage what they can and rebuild in a similar fashion like they did with the library/Brigham Young Academy building. The Tabernacle is a beautiful building.

  • Barack Obama Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:31 a.m.

    I do hope they salvage what they can and rebuild perhaps in a similar fashion as they did with the Academy/library complex.

  • nanniehu Wendover, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:31 a.m.

    Such a sad end to a beautiful structure. I hope there will be a way to save or restore this historic building.

  • BlueCoug Orem, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    So sad, like losing the heart of the community.

    All is not lost however.

    Like the Nauvoo Temple, the Provo Tabernacle can be rebuilt and made even better than before.

    After a few tears are shed, it's time for the community to pull together.

    Save the brick and whatever woodwork and other historic pieces are salvageable, and rebuild.

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 8:01 a.m.

    Very sad- was there last week and remember thinking what a treasure to have such a structure- big loss- wonder if any replacement structure will happen- doubt it

  • Teeny Orem, UT
    Dec. 17, 2010 7:56 a.m.

    I too grieve at this historic loss. Our great uncle Ole H. Berg, a great craftsman and builder and former civic leader, helped build this landmark edifice. It is our home for the arts and concerts. Our family of ten has all performed there over the years. The Tabernacle IS PROVO!! So very sad.