Saturday, September 29, 2012

Provo Tabernacle/Temple, Castle?

This morning over at Keepapitchinin, Ardis posted some pictures she took of the rehabilitation of the Provo Tabernacle into a Temple. The Tabernacle burned in December 2010 and there is great excitement to see the historic structure repaired and modified to become a second Temple in Provo.

My wife and I drove by the construction site just a few weeks ago. We spent our first two married years in Provo and attended at least one LDS Stake Conference in the Tabernacle. Yet there was something oddly familiar in a different way with the pictures Ardis posted. I hadn't ever paid attention to the hexagonal towers of the Tabernacle before. They are very similar to those of Raglan Castle between Abergavenny and Monmouth, Wales!

Raglan Castle Tower
by Me, August 20, 2010

Provo Tabernacle-Temple Tower
Courtesy of Ardis Parshall

The Tabernacle with its conical tower roofs removed looks very much like a castle fortress. (A part of one of those conical roofs can be seen to the far left of this photo):

Provo Tabernacle-Temple courtesy of Ardis Parshall
Raglan Castle by Me, August 20, 2010
From the self-tour guidebook at Raglan, we learned that the hexagonal towers were rather unique for a castle in Britain. With my sophisticated research skills, I also learned from Wikipedia that the architect for the Provo Tabernacle was William Harrison Folsom born 1815 in New Hampshire. He was baptized into the Mormon Church by and remained a life-long friend of Enoch Reese, a stone mason - now with that name & skill there's a possible Welsh connection! However, the Deseret News of August 16, 1901, reports that Enoch was born in Whitestown, Oneida County, New York in 1813. The parentage of Enoch is a little confused in NewFamilySearch. Yet, the three possible John Reeses as his father were all born in Wales. But still, that's a pretty tenuous or unlikely link between Raglan Castle and the Provo Tabernacle. And Enoch died in 1876 in Salt Lake City before the Provo Tabernacle was even started in 1883.

If anyone knows anything at all about the origins of designing hexagonal towers for the Provo Tabernacle, I would love to hear about it. Otherwise, we're going to have to chalk this up to an interesting architectural coincidence.

For more about my connections to Raglan Castle (including pics!), you can look here, here, and here. And Ardis's report on the Temple construction is here.


  1. Folsom used first this conical corner design in the Manti Temple. The Provo Tab was designed by Folsom while he resided and worked in Manti. Folsom like many architects in the 3rd quarter of the 19th C., studied and mixed many historical and picturesque models, English, European and Near Eastern.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!