Paris Idaho Tabernacle
The pioneers, lead by Charles C. Rich, entered the valley in the year of 1863. The tabernacle was started in July 1884, completed in 1888 and was dedicated the 15th of September 1889 by Willford Woodruff. The building served them, as well as the people now, for larger gatherings where the Latter-day Saints meet twice a year for Stake Conference and for special concerts and celebrations, such as the 4th of July (Independence Day). The building is more than 133 years old.
The sandstone used in the building of the Tabernacle was brought from a quarry located in Indian Creek canyon 18 miles southeast of Paris by horse-drawn sleighs and wagons. This required between 1000 and 1200 trips between the quarry and Paris. All the lumber used in the building was white pine taken from the hills west of Paris. For about twenty years the pioneers worked very hard gathering the materials and storing them on the property where the Tabernacle now stands, so when permission came from the Church Presidency, they would be ready to build. Men, women, and children were all willing to work hard to bring this beautiful work to completion. Everything in the building was made by hand. There were no machines available at that time.
The architect was Joseph Don Carlos Young, son of Brigham Young, the contractor was Thomas Lowe from Logan and the stone masons that built the building were: Jacob Tueller Sr. and his sons Jacob Jr., John, and Christian. They had immigrated from Switzerland. The ceiling was constructed by James Collings Sr., an English ship builder. It resembles the hull of a ship turned upside down. He also purchased and installed the stained glass upstairs above the double doors. The choir loft and ceiling above the organ was designed by James Nye. The doors were hand made by Bishop John Grimmett. This work shows the beautiful craftsmanship of the builders.
The original organ was air and band pumped. It was installed in 1893 and lasted until 1928 when it was replaced by a beautiful Austin, two-manual pipe organ. The organ is over 89 years old and bas 629 pipes and offers top-quality sound even today. It was built in Hartford, Connecticut and installed by James J. Toronto and bis son.
The heating system and the lights were modernized since there was no electricity at the time of the pioneers. The Tabernacle was heated previously with five or six potbellied stoves and the lighting was provided by Rochester-type coal oil lanterns. The carpet also bas been added. The wood is all original and Victorian graining was used on the white pine to give it the appearance of oak, birch, walnut and other expensive hardwoods. Everything else in the building is original except for the outside doors which have been replaced because of fire codes. The cost of building this beautiful building was about $50,000. The building was built with lots of sweat and love.
Renovation on the building started about July 2005 and was completed in July 2006. All window frames have been replaced and exterior doors have been replaced with replica doors designed like the original ones by Charles W. Allen who did the windows in the Navuoo Temple. The old boiler has been replaced with a forced air heating and air conditioning system and all new lights were installed. Also the Tabernacle has been brought up to meet earthquake standards.