"9/11 | Coming Together" 20th Anniversary Special

The Tabernacle Choir Blog

A Child Goes for a Swim in the Tabernacle During Conference

The Salt Lake Tabernacle is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and is famous for its exceptional acoustics. It was completed in 1867 and was engineered by Henry Grow under the direction of Brigham Young, who was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time. People from around the world have visited the domed building and have witnessed the acoustic demonstration in which a person can hear a single pin drop from 250 feet away.

Besides the acoustics, there are many other fascinating things to know about the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Throughout the years we’ve written many blog articles on the Tabernacle and its many distinct features, including articles about the attic, the 11,623 pipe organ, recording challenges, the construction of the Tabernacle, and even a sparrow trapped in the building.

Come, Thou Fountain?

From 1875 until the mid-1880s, a large fountain of water surrounded by four statues of lions was placed in the center of the Tabernacle, twelve rows from the front podium. It was designed to cool visitors in the building, since there was no air conditioning in those days. The fountain also provided some comic relief when one child saw an opportunity to go for a swim. LeRoi C. Snow, son of former Church President Lorenzo Snow, recalled, “It seems that at one June conference, when the Tabernacle was very warm, a family of good Saints from Hawaii was in attendance. They had entered the Tabernacle from a front side door and were attempting to make their way down the center aisle to find seats. To do so they had to detour around the fountain, for which purpose steps and a walkway were provided. One of the youngsters of the family, on coming abreast of the fountain fell a victim of temptation and eagerly dived in, and began a vigorous splashing. He was duly extricated, much to the amusement and probably the envy of the assembled Saints.” 

That would certainly would have made for an interesting general conference! Today, the fountain is long gone with no chance for any swimming, and conference sessions were moved to the Conference Center in April 2000. The Tabernacle now houses concerts by The Tabernacle Choir and The Orchestra at Temple Square, daily organ recitals, and other performances and speakers. The Tabernacle Choir has been singing at general conference for over 150 years. This weekend as usual, the Choir will perform at the Saturday morning session of general conference and at both Sunday sessions. The music will be a mix of hymns and children’s songs centered around Jesus Christ and gospel principles. President Russell M. Nelson commented, “Unitedly members of [The Tabernacle Choir] testify of the living Lord and of His Church restored in these latter days.”