Cedar City Tabernacle

The Cedar City Tabernacle was located on the corner of main street and center street (where the city offices are located today) and was erected in 1885. It was demolished in the spring of 1932 to make way for a post office. The Rock Church replaced the tabernacle. The $29,000 from the sale of the tabernacle went toward construction of the Rock Church, which ended up costing $87,000 (paid through donations and funds from church headquarters). The Rock Church also is home to the old tabernacle’s clock (bought from a Swiss maker with money collected by LDS primary children). The clock still keeps time in the church’s spire.

Next to the Rock Church is a sign with these words:

A tabernacle was erected in 1885 on the adjoining corner of Main and Center Street and was demolished in the spring of 1932. In 1872 Bishop Christopher J. Arthur suggested that this Tabernacle be built to replace the Social Hall. Mayhew Dalley drew the plans for a building 72 X 41-1/2 feet with a tower 110 feet high. Edward J. Ashton of Salt Lake City was engaged as architect and Bengt Nelson was appointed director. The excavation was dug in 1872, but because labor was needed on the St. George Temple, the work was postponed until 1877. The Tabernacle was built of local materials except for the windows. Lumber was cut in Deep Creek, the bricks were burned south of town, shingles were made, and plastering was done. The stone tablet inscribed “Holiness to the Lord” was placed in 1885.

The town clock in the tower was a gift from the city and ward. A ball and weather indicator topped the tower. Conference was held in the unplastered building in 1887. A gallery was added later. December 20, 1931, the U.S. Government approved the purchase of the ground for a post office. The last meeting was held in the historic Tabernacle in 1932 prior to its demolition. The Tabernacle was a community project and served the people well for forty-seven years.

Rock Church

Cedar City Rock Church
Cedar City Rock Church

The old Rock Church holds many memories and interesting stories. It also houses some of the area’s greatest workmanship and lessons of hard work and perseverance.

The construction of LDS buildings in Cedar City was done on the northeast block of Main Street and Center Street. This entire section was owned by the LDS church and it was there that they built the tabernacle, which was torn down in 1932, a ward house and tithing offices. The Rock Church is all that remains of the magnificent block. It was built in 1931.

The construction of the Rock Church was and still is unique to this area and to the LDS church. It is the only chapel that was built entirely by church members. It was also built exclusively from area materials, which were not easy to get. The beautiful wood benches, tables, stair railings and doors were made from local Juniper trees. The saints cut the trees in the winter time so that the sap content would be lower.

“They glued them and smashed them,” Weaver said, as he pointed out the layers of wood in the pews. The iron light fixtures, which are still the original sets, were made from the iron that was mined in Iron County. The beautiful rock on the outside of the church was hauled in from southern Utah, as far south as Jacob’s Lake in Arizona, and as far west as Pioche and Penaca, Nevada. Many of these stones were not just simple stones, either. Silver, which looks blue in its natural state, and copper, which is green, are both on the building.

Master stone masons from Germany laid everything out on the ground to pattern out the design before laying it on the front of the church. As you look above the front door at the archway, you will notice a center piece, which is called the keystone, and how these men placed the stones to match on either side as they went out. Even the stones all across the front are matched mirror image from the center.

As construction began, estimates for the cost of the building were in the neighborhood of $60,000. Even with the vast amount of donated labor, it still cost the LDS church $85,000. Many workers were paid $1 a day for their labor but ended up giving it back to help build the church.

Inside the building there are many beautiful and interesting things. When on a tour, be sure to notice the music stand in the chapel, the beautiful rails, doors and tables, and the unique baptismal font in the basement. This latter room is really a wonder to see.

Tours are every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Special tours may be arranged by calling Kimball Weaver at (435) 586-6759.

75 E Center St