Friday, December 17, 2010

The day the Provo Tabernacle burned

I can see the smoke from the tabernacle from my office window.  When I heard it was burning down all kinds of memories came to mind.  My grandfather was the Bishop of the ward where the tabernacle sits for 15 years and lived a couple of blocks away.  When I was a boy around 10 years old (~1965) my grandmother took me for a walk in that direction.  Her grandfather, William Strong (from whence Chad gets his middle name) was a policeman for Provo city.  On the night before he was to retire from the force, a hobo shot and killed him about a block away from the tabernacle.  His funeral was held at the tabernacle.  My grandmother knew the caretaker and got the him to let us inside.  She showed me the stairs where they carried his casket and the spot on the floor where it sat during the service.  Her father had taken her on the same tour she was giving me. The care taker talked to me about the history of the building and how it had been the place where funerals for many important people in Provo were held.  He took me back up through a little door behind the organ and showed me the pipes people didn't see and told me about his responsibility to care for the organ and keep it oiled and clean.  He showed me construction back there and I could see the nails.  He told me of how the nails and the wood carvings inside were hand made  in a labor of love.  Marilyn and I attended conference in that building when we lived in Provo.  It was so beautiful inside (and out).  It's sad to look out my window now and watch it burn down.  As I was talking with Marilyn last night, the shores of the past are getting further and further away from the boat of life we travel in.  The building and the memories many people have that go with it can never be replaced.


Chad said...

It is sad. The pictures on KSL make it look like the building is pretty much doomed, and that's what most people are thinking (from the radio on the way in to work this morning). The fire marshall says they won't be able to evaluate the loss until after everything is out, but they did say that the roof collapsed and took some sections of wall with it.

I don't have the memories that you may have, but I have good memories of that building as well. That's where many of my BYU stake conferences were held, and I've attended some awesome Christmas concerts in that building. I'm sure there were a lot of choirs that were planning on using that building this coming week for their concerts.

I sure hope this wasn't an arsonist. They say that the fire started in the upper portion of the building, so hopefully it was something like an electrical problem that started it.

Christa said...

Very sad. Benjamin and I hope that they can rebuild it.

Marilyn said...

Yes, I too have attachments to the building, and it came as a shock this morning when I heard it on the news! I am sad about it, even though my attachments were not as strong as Chad's and Kims. And from the pictures here, I would guess it is a complete loss! Tragic to lose such a beautiful piece of EARLY Utah Valley History.
There were concerts to be held there tonight and tomorrow.

Erica said...

I cried when I heard the news this morning. It is so sad. :(

Cambrie said...

Oh my gosh! How sad! I, like chad went to many BYU stake confrences there. I also sang there many times in choirs and attended other concerts there.
Thanks for your history of it dad. Interesting/sad. Funny how we are all attached so much to a building.