Visiting Salt Lake City should be on everyone’s bucket list. There’s great food, exciting night life, and a history that can be found in a countless number of places. One of those must-see historic venues along the US Bus route is the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square. Directly west of the castle (formally known as the Salt Lake Temple), is the dome-shaped Tabernacle, which was built by the Mormon Pioneers after they settled in the Salt Lake Valley back in 1847. From music recitals to motivational speakers, or simply gazing in awe at the majesty of this building, visiting the Historic Salt Lake Tabernacle should be on every tourist’s itinerary when visiting the Mountain West.
19th Century Craftsmanship Preserved
For more than 150 years, the Salt Lake Tabernacle has been esteemed as a complex, world-known piece of architecture. With most modern-day technologies not available in the 1800s, the architects were very creative with how they built this building. The dome-shape of the structure is supported by angled trusses that were originally held together by wooden pegs and secured with rawhide as the bonding agent. Of course, the Tabernacle has been upgraded to today’s standards, but those building methods are still evident in its framework. More information about the Tabernacle and other buildings on Temple Square can be found here.
The signature landmark within this landmark is the majestic pipe organ. Also world-known, the organ houses 11,623 pipes, with some as tall as thirty-two feet and as small as three quarters of an inch. Many of the original 19th century pipes, made from pine, are still used today. Every day at 12:00 noon, one of the Tabernacle’s five organists demonstrate the instrument’s vast musical talent. It is a must see!
The Acoustic Dome
The Salt Lake Tabernacle is a world-known acoustic-sensitive dome. In the above-mentioned daily organ recitals, the performer will also demonstrate the building’s incredible acoustic ability by dropping a pin as well as a nail, then ripping a newspaper from the opposite end of the Tabernacle, which can be heard more than 170 feet away. It is riveting to witness! And not to worry, the acoustics are still recognized even when it is full to capacity.
The world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, coined as “America’s Choir” by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, calls the Tabernacle home. You can witness this 360-voice group each Sunday morning at 9:30 between September and May (June through August they are in the LDS Conference Center across the street), but make sure you get there early. Their repertoire consists of spiritual and uplifting pieces from hymns to popular Broadway selections, and are all accompanied by the organ, full orchestra (The Orchestra on Temple Square), and sometimes a 28-person bell choir (The Bells on Temple Square).
In addition to their half-hour program on Sundays, you can also see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at their rehearsals on Thursday evenings starting at 7:30, or other special concerts found on their website.
So, after a hearty meal over at The Roof restaurant, and a gander through the shops at City Creek, makes sure you head over to the Historic Salt Lake Tabernacle and see what I’m talking about. I assure you will not be disappointed.