By Lynn Blamires Content Writer for My Local Utah
The cornerstone was laid for the Kaysville Tabernacle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 24, 1912. Under that cornerstone was laid a time capsule in the form of an iron box containing treasures of the day to be opened at some future date.
Time Capsule Is Opened
That day was April 16, 2022, and was attended by Kaysville locals – people who had some experience with the building. It was the church my wife, Gayle, attended with her family as a child. My great grandfather was the building supervisor during its construction.
The contents of the iron box were laid out on a table in a room on the north end of the building for all to see. It contained what those people thought would be important for those who opened it to know about them. Among those things were –
- Copies of the Weekly Reflex and Salt Lake newspapers that included happenings of the day
- A list of the people who lived in the Kaysville Ward who worshiped there
- Some pictures of people who were involved in the building of the Tabernacle including my great grandfather, Lambert Blamires
- A list of donors to the building fund
- A list of missionaries from the ward serving at the time
- Copies of scriptures, the editions of which were commonly used at the time
- Some money in the form of a quarter and some pennies
- Some wheat because it was something important to them. It turned out to be a problem because it became infested, and the bugs ate holes in the papers.
Tabernacle Is Historic and Unique
The Tabernacle combines “modern” and Greek Revival styling and is noted for its beautiful stained glass windows. It has been in constant use since its dedication in 1914. Richfield and Manti have similar historic chapels still in use, but Kaysville has the only one in north Davis County.
In talking with a church historian who was present for the opening, I learned that an interesting story about the stained-glass windows may not have been recorded.
The Story of the Addition of Ten Stained Glass Windows
On September 15, 2012, Bill Sanders, Curator for the Layton Museum related an account to a writer for the website WordPress.com, The writer wrote the following,
“Of the 14 beautiful stained glass window, the tabernacle has, only the largest two were going to be placed due to lack of funding. A woman named Leonora Epperson had moved into Kaysville in April of 1912 with her newspaper-editor husband William. After being given a tour of the construction site by Minnie Blood, wife of the local Mormon Bishop, and told that the remaining 12 windows were going to be plain glass, Leonora declared, ‘that’s ridiculous’ and set about raising the remaining funds to do the project right.”
It is interesting to note that Lenora was not a member of the church, just a newcomer to the community. Her desire to see the Tabernacle finished right resulted in a more beautiful chapel than the one that was planned.
The Tabernacle Has Amazing Acoustics
Not only is it a beautiful building, but it also has amazing acoustics. I know it was during a meeting in the chapel that I laid my arm on the bench in front of me and put my head down to rest my eyes. That act became more serious than a quick rest as I jerked awake with an audible “waa.” Embarrassed, I tried to act as if nothing had happened, but the acoustics of this building made the noise perfectly noticeable. The church gets many requests from groups that want to perform in the Tabernacle because of the amazing sound that the building is designed to create.
The Kaysville Tabernacle Is on the National Historic Register
Located at 198 West Center, the Kaysville Tabernacle is on the National Historic Register and has recently undergone seismic restoration. The cornerstone was laid in 1912, but the building was completed and dedicated on May 24, 1914. It replaced an old adobe building across the street that had been used since 1863.
Additions to the Original Building
The original building was a chapel with classrooms and a baptismal font in a basement. In 1953, a recreation hall, a Relief Society room, and a kitchen were added. A new wing was added in 1973 that featured additional classrooms, office space, and a library.
The tabernacle was remodeled in the late 1970s. This work restored the stained-glass windows, protecting them with an exterior shield, upgraded the chapel, and improved the sound and cooling systems.
The Kaysville Tabernacle is a treasured historical gem. Put this landmark on your list of places to visit.