St. George, Utah History: The Tabernacle on Tabernacle
The St. George Tabernacle, a historical landmark, is host to musical venues throughout the year. The Southern Utah Heritage Choir will be presenting beloved hymns and anthems of the Christmas season on December 6th from 7-8:00PM and is FREE to the public. Sing-a-long with the choir as they sing a few of their favorite songs of the season.
A little history of the Tabernacle
The St. George Tabernacle was designed by architect, Robert Folsom. Contruction began in 1863 and completed in 1875. The limestone for the three foot thick basement walls was hand quarried and hauled from the foothills. Red sandstone boulders for the 2 1/2 foot thick walls were hand quarried from a site near Dixie Red Hills Golf Course.
The individual chisel marks on each sandstone block are still visible. The 56-foot wood trusses were cut in Pine Valley and hand-hewn with a broad axe. The twin spiral staircases were hand-carved, complete with balustrades and railing. The interior plaster of Paris ceiling and cornice work were locally cast and prepared and boasts 29 foot ceilings.
A gallery ten feet high extends on the north, east and south walls where it is supported by nine solid turned columns on the sides and two such columns on the east end. The west end of the main assembly room supports a choir loft and a three-level speaker's stand. Two circular stairways lead to the gallery from the main entrance.
The clock was made in London and shipped to St. George via New York. Irrigation water turns were timed to the minute in early St. George. The schedule ran 24 hours a day and the meager supply, coupled with discrepancies in time pieces, caused constant disputes between neighbors. The problem was partially alleviated with the installation of a town clock in the Tabernacle tower in 1872.
The Tabernacle, called the "jewel in the desert" and a symbol of the town's pioneer beginnings is an architectural masterpiece built by local tradespeople. It is located at 18 South Main Street in the heart of downtown St. George and was put on the National Register of Historic Places on May 14, 1971. The Tabernacle underwent a restoration in 1993 and once again in 2017.
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