The Salt Lake Tabernacle can seat 3,500 people.
Frank Lloyd Wright called the Tabernacle on Temple Square “one of the architectural masterpieces of the country, and perhaps the world.” Other opinions were less glowing—one early visitor likened it to “a prodigious tortoise that has lost its way.” Nonetheless, the 143-year-old domed auditorium serves faithfully as a grand assembly hall for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and home to the Grammy Award–winning Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
AN IDEA IS HATCHED According to Brigham Young’s daughter Clarissa, the Mormon leader took a hard-boiled egg, cut it lengthwise, and propped it up on toothpicks to illustrate what the building should look like.
PRAISE THE ROOF Arched timber trusses bound together by wooden pegs, rawhide ribbons, and metal from old ox shoes created the hall’s nine-foot-thick, domelike roof.
SOUND SYSTEM The building’s elliptical design gives it near-perfect acoustics. A nail dropped on the pulpit can be heard at the back of the hall 170 feet away.
PIPING HOT The Tabernacle’s famous Aeolian-Skinner organ contains 11,623 individual pipes—the 15th largest set in the world—some composed of local timber turned on a lathe in the 1860s.
Photography by George Frey/Getty Images
This article was first published in December 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.