The Box Elder Tabernacle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a fine example of Neo-Gothic architecture. It was saved from demolition and renovated in 1985.
Brigham Young, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, selected the site for the Box Elder State Tabernacle in 1865. However, construction did not begin until 1876 under the direction of Brigham City’s first Stake President, Lorenzo Snow. The building was not finished until 1890 under the leadership of Stake President Charles Kelley. The architect was probably Truman 0. Angel, Jr. or his father, one of the more famous L.D.S. Church architects. With volunteer labor, field stone was collected nearby and lumber was hauled from the mountains, sawed and delivered to the site. The structure was 50 feet by 95 feet with a tower rising above each of the four corners. The seating capacity was 1200.
One Sunday afternoon in 1896, the building burned down, leaving only the four walls standing. According to the local paper, the Brigham City Bugler, it took only a half hour for the tabernacle to turn into “a mass of furious, crackling flames.” By 2:30 in the afternoon, the building was nothing more than a smoking, blackened hulk. The fire had even stripped the plaster from the walls and floating embers from the tabernacle blaze had touched off other fires around town.
It was rebuilt under the leadership of Stake President Rudger Clawson in a more elaborate neo-Gothic style. Sixteen brick buttresses were added to the exterior with steeples topping each one. A major tower was added to the front. Inside the building a vestibule was added and the seating capacity increased by 400. The new structure was dedicated in March of 1897. A reporter for the Brigham City Bugler wrote, “What on the day of the great fire appeared a calamity, will tomorrow be looked upon as a great blessing -- there is really no comparison between the old and the new.”
As the L.D.S. Church built more stake centers in the Brigham City area, the tabernacle became less prominent. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Although some talked of tearing it down, the building was restored and renovated from 1985 to 1987. To this day many come to tour and praise this celebrated building with its long history of trials and triumphs.