In 1859, several families left Provo, Utah, and established Heber City in Wasatch County. The little town was named after President Heber C. Kimball. Construction of the Tabernacle took two years, from 1887-1889. It was built of wood and local sandstone quarried from the Lake Creek area, east of Heber. The original building cost was $30,000.00 (construction of the same in 2013, would be approximately $750,000.). Henry Clegg Jr., stonemason and bishop in Heber, Abram Hatch superintendent and Alexander Fortie, as architect. and it was constructed completely by volunteers, through their donations and invested labor, being the fellowship who would worship there, Mormon members of the early LDS Church. Styled in a manner similar to tabernacles of Manti and Moroni, Utah, this magnificent stone building was completed in April of 1889, and dedicated on May 5th, 1889.
The original tabernacle seated 1,500 in its pews and served as a place for especially large congregations for the Saints to gather for spiritual and temporal purposes. It was heated in the winter by four potbelly stoves in each corner of the building. An amusement hall was built on an adjoining property, designed by Richard C. Watkins, in 1906-1907. A modest meetinghouse for ward use was built, also on adjoining property in 1915, to which a substantial addition of a chapel and amusement hall was made by Clifford Evans, Salt Lake architect, in 1952.Other additions were documented in 1928 and 1954. In the early 1960’s, local church leaders made the decision to demolish the tabernacle and build a new center. That decision was made public in July of 1964. Subsequent public outcry and state-wide favor to preserve this historic building was invoked through lobbying and the building was saved. in 1980, the structure was acquired from the LDS Church by Heber City, and converted into an office building. On December 2, 1970, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in a join listing with the adjacent Heber Amusement Hall.
Today, the building is known as the Heber City Tabernacle, and is the home of Heber City Administrative Offices. The City Council meets regularly on the second floor. A collection of artifacts belonging to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers are on display in the main and second floors. This building is approximantely 49 feet long. The bell tower looms 95’ above, with a gabled roof. Windows in the tower alternate with buttresses at sides and ends, and this square tower is topped by a louvered belfry with convex hipped roof, stamped with a metal covering. The bell is still rung for special town occasions.
On November 18, 2014, a UVU student photographed the tabernacle as a final project for a service-learning assignment, capturing over 1,400 still images of the property on a beautiful, clear day. These virtual tours represent a compilation of over 2,750 specialty files worth of image-stitching and virtual tour softwares to complete this website. Please note, there are photographic icons of special interest in most tours that can be accessed by click or touch. This tour is mobile/device friendly, and is designed with enabled ’gyro-scoping’ for easy tour accessibility.
NOTE: Although Heber City Offices are open and welcome the public to visit their historic building, the Bell Tower Tour is not accessable to the public being exclusive to this virtual tour website only. It is hoped you will enjoy this tour.
1 Paul Goeldner, Utah Catalogue, Historic American Building Survey (Salt Lake City: Utah Heritage Foundation, 1969), 56.
2 Richard W. Jackson, Places of Worship: 150 Years of Latter-day Saint Architecture (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003), 126.
3 Historic Heber City, Our Heritage, (pamphlet) and Visit Heber Valley website.