Friday, August 31, 2012

Tabernacle--Paris, Idaho

Bear Lake is a large lake on the Utah-Idaho border, at an altitude of 6000 feet. The Bear Lake valley was settled by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints(Mormons) in 1863. They almost immediately began making plans for a large meeting house(tabernacle) that could accommodate all the settlers. Materials were hard to come by. Timber was cut and hauled to the site from the mountains. The sandstone used as the basic construction material was quarried from Indian Creek, on the east side of the lake and hauled a distance of 18 miles to the construction site in the community of Paris. The Tueller family of Swiss stonemasons did the stonework. The building was completed and dedicated in 1889. In the time since it was built, the Tabernacle has had maintenance type restoration only. No major changes have been made. The benches, for example, are original.

 The above photo is taken from the main floor, looking from the back to the front where the choir loft, organ and podium are located.

 The above photo is taken from the rear balcony.

 This photo shows one of the side balconies. Hardwood was scarce in this region, so pine or fir was used. The doors and pews were painted in a "graining" style which uses a technique of varnishing over white paint and while still wet, dragging a comb-like instrument through the wet varnish, creating a hardwood-like grain effect. This effect can be seen more clearly in the photo below of one of the inside doors to the balcony.


The photo below shows these doors closed, from the interior.

 The photo above is another view from the balcony.
 The photo above shows the woodwork on the ceiling. A shipbuilder, James Collings Sr., built the ceiling using a style commonly found in sailing ships.

The above photo is of the choir loft. The organ is an Austin two manual pipe organ, installed in 1928, built in Hartford, Connecticutt.

 Above is a view of the podium, choir loft and organ  Below is a closeup of the podium.
 The photo below is looking from the front to the back of the building. The balcony doors are open.
 The Paris Tabernacle is a remarkable building. It holds about 1,500 people and is used for stake conferences. Also it has been used in the past for a Sunday service for all the visitors that flock to Bear Lake in the summer, although I do not know if that is currently the case.


  1. Lovely scenes, as always. Love the shot of the choir loft. And those doors! And the ceiling! Amazing to think of the care and hard work that goes into our buildings. Thanks for the nice photos.

  2. When I was in Chamber Choir at the U., we sang here. I remember how lovely it was and the acoustics were great. Oboist, Louis Booth, who was with the Utah Symphony for years was born here and came with us to perform. Nice to be reminded of this occasion with your lovely photos.

  3. My great grandfather was one of the mason's that helped to build this amazing structure. I think of all the hard work that was put into it with no technology and no modern machinery.