This should jog your memory, right?
Well, last Friday night...
Firefighters worked for days to contain the fire, which destroyed the roof and the entire hardwood interior, a grand piano, a priceless harp, the original pioneer organ and a number of other irreplaceable objects.
Yesterday I got the chance to walk around the building -- as close as I could get, anyway; the city police suspect arson and are still treating it as a crime scene -- and took pictures of the devastation.
Frankly, it was difficult to make myself look at this.
I grew up in Provo. I graduated from high school seminary in this building (and played a piano solo at the ceremony), I sang in countless choir concerts, attended church meetings and "Mormon Midnight Mass" here. So many functions, both religious and secular, took place inside this building.
All the inner woodwork, with its ornate carvings, burned in the fire. It's too soon even to know whether rebuilding will be possible.
Even if the LDS Church chooses to rebuild -- which I suspect it will -- the Tabernacle will never be the way it once was. The city of Provo and the state of Utah have lost a priceless historical site and a repository of so many memories, all in a single night.
Poor old Tabernacle. I hope they do everything they can to restore you.
Incidentally, this blot on the landscape is the world headquarters of NuSkin International, an urban high-rise building incongruously plunked down right in the middle of Provo's small-town business district. It's been a local eyesore from the day it was built. It just happens to be located on the same city block as the Tabernacle, and NuSkin has been trying to buy the rest of the block from the Church for years. The Church has always declined. I hope it will continue to do so. I also hope the Provo City police can figure out whether this was indeed an act of arson, and if so, who set the fire.
The majority of Provoans have expressed aloud the suggestion that if a downtown building had to burn, it really ought to have been the NuSkin building. Frankly, I couldn't agree more.