Tabernacle on Temple Square
The Tabernacle on Temple Square and Mormon Tabernacle Choir have been a part of Temple Square since before the completion of even the temple.
Legend has it that Brigham Young originated the unusual design of the now-famous Tabernacle on Temple Square after contemplating a hollowed-out egg shell cracked lengthwise. Young wanted the Tabernacle roof to be self-supporting, without pillars or posts to obstruct audience views, so bridge-building techniques of the day were employed. The domed roof was created by using steam to bend the massive beams and weighing them at both ends. Construction of the Tabernacle lasted 12 years, from 1863 to 1875.
Red sandstone for the Tabernacle's 46 supporting piers was quarried from Red Butte Canyon, east of Salt Lake City. Nearly 1.5 million feet of lumber was hauled from the Wasatch Mountains to complete the project. The 11,623-pipe Tabernacle Organ features prominent golden pipes made of round wood staves, hand-carved from Utah timber. Ten pipes from the original organ still work. The organ is one of the largest (and is considered one of the best sounding) organs in the world.
Today, tours of Temple Square feature a demonstration of the Tabernacle's remarkable acoustics. Visitors may sit in the rear of the building as the tour guide drops a pin on the floor close to the podium. The sound rings clearly throughout the hall. The Tabernacle's acoustics are also the reason the Grammy-award winning Mormon Tabernacle Choir calls it home.
Information courtesy the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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