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Celebrating 100th year of Logan Tabernacle

The 100th anniversary of the Logan Tabernacle was observed Nov. 2 in a program that included an address by a General Authority, a recounting of the building's history and presentation of musical selections.

Elder Dean L. Larsen of the Presidency of the Seventy noted that those who benefit from a valuable heritage have a great obligation to preserve it and pass it undiminished to future generations.Elder Larsen reflected on what the congregation must have been like when President Wilford Woodruff dedicated the building Nov. 2, 1891.

Members of that congregation, he surmised, "must have had a keen interest in that event because of the contributions they had made and their sacrifices to bring this lovely building to the state that we can still enjoy tonight."

Elder Larsen said something special reflects on a building like the Logan Tabernacle. "It not only has to do with the construction and the beauty, the architecture, although those things are very, very impressive, but also with the lives of the people," he said.

"As we come now and feel of the character and the spirit that this building has taken on, I can't help but feel that it's a combination of not only those very early saints who brought this building to completion in its construction, but also the lives of all of those who have come here during those intervening years."

Elder Larsen, a native of nearby Hyrum, Utah, said it's appropriate during an event like a centennial anniversary to look ahead as well as back over the years. "I've been wondering tonight what the congregation may look like 100 years from now, at another event of this kind here in this building. I would hope and trust . . . those who would come on such an occasion would be able to feel the goodness and the richness here that we feel tonight as a result of the lives we have lived and the contributions we have made and will make to the spirit of this building."

During the centennial program, Leonard J. Arrington, former director of BYU's Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, presented a historical sketch of the Logan Tabernacle.

On Dec. 7, 1864, Elder Ezra T. Benson (great-grandfather of President Ezra Taft Benson) of the Council of the Twelve met with local residents to discuss the need for a tabernacle. Commissioned as architect was Truman O. Angell, who also designed the Logan and Salt Lake temples. Work soon began on the eight-acre central block. About 175 people agreed to volunteer labor, timber, produce and other supplies. The construction of other meetinghouses and schoolhouses and the death of Elder Benson delayed progress on the tabernacle until the early 1870s. Elder Franklin D. Richards of the Council of the Twelve dedicated the basement Jan. 26, 1877, and the first valley conference was held there on that date.

In May 1878, President Brigham Young came to Logan to organize the Cache Valley Stake, which then also included the members living in Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Western Canada.

The upper story of the tabernacle, constructed mainly of sandstone and limestone, was completed in August 1878. During the mid-1880s, the entrance, the tower and the stand including the choir seats were built. The tabernacle was the site of the Church's general conference in April and October 1885.

A pipe organ was installed in 1908, furnace rooms were added, and the building was rededicated in 1915.

Included in centennial events Nov. 2 were two musical performances. Darwin Wolford of the Church Music Committee performed an organ concert recital, and well-known LDS composer Michael Ballam played the piano while singing "Bless This House."

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