Around 1862 shortly after pioneers had settled St. George, they desperatly wanted a permanent place for worship and for other public gatherings. They set their hearts to create the Tabernacle and after 13 years of construction with money only comming from the donations and sacrafices of the saints, it was finally completed and still stands today. The construction featured many unique features, such as the 2,244 panes of glass that were shipped from New York City and would have to be shipped to California and then travel to St. George from there. The cost was 800 dollars and David Cannon, a local church leader, was only able to raise $200 from donations. But then Peter Nielson, a Danish immigrant, at the last minute donated $600 in gold coins! 80% of the original window panes are still in place at the Tabernacle.
Miles Romney was a master builder in his time and supervised the construction of the Tabernacle and designed the two circular staircases at the north and south east corners of the building. The Tabernacle features a rather unique U-shaped balcony that, during it's construction, had to be lowered towards the center so the audience could still see the pulpit from against the walls. The basement features 3 foot thick walls for extra strength against the swampy areas of St. George. The clock tower features four clocks (made in London), facing north, east, south, and west and includes a bell that has been used to chime for special events.
Even before it's dedication on May 14, 1876 by Bringham Young, whom at the time was the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the St. George Tabernacle was constantly being used for various social events and sunday meetings. After it's dedication, it's popularity and usage never diminished. In fact, years later, Lorenzo Snow gave his famous address on the law of tithing as he served as the president of the church.
Because of it's constant use, the building has under gone several renovations and additions, such as the installation of the organ in 1878. The most recent renovation took place 1993 to restore the Tabernacle to preserve it's historical look and presence. The St. George Tabernacle was place in the National Register of Historic Places (#1971000862) on May 14, 1971. The building is still being used today for sunday devotionals, organ concerts, special events like Christmas performances, Veteran Day honorations, music recitals, etc. The building is also open to the public everyday from 9:00 a.m. to dusk with free admission. I highly recommend visiting this historical landmark that has served the beautiful city of St. George since it's establishment over 150 years ago.