Concerned residents trying to save Smithfield Tabernacle

Concerned about the future of the Smithfield Tabernacle, members of the city’s Historical Society have extended an open invitation to a Saturday event to heighten awareness of the 110-year old structure.

Ruth Swaner, vice president of the group, said the objective is to convince the city’s residents it’s important not to neglect or destroy the building.

“We want to create some public awareness of our oldest building in the city. It was used as a tabernacle for many, many years. It’s an incredible building. It’s minus its tower and pinnacles, but in its day it was awesome and majestic to see.

Swaner said an evaluation of the building would determine if it meets the codes to preserve it.

“It’s a long, long journey and we will take it step by step. For now, we just want to let people know it’s there.”

It is currently used as a youth center after serving as an LDS tabernacle and also a ward house.

“Saturday we will have some old timers there telling stories about how beautiful it was inside, the balcony and the pipe organ. We want to make people aware that this was a really wonderful building at the time.”

Swaner said it took over 20 years to build.

“They finally got it done around December, 1902, at an estimated cost of $77,000. It’s an interesting building.”

The Smithfield Tabernacle Open House Saturday is 1-5 p.m. It will include displays, a video presentation and story hour and refreshments. The building is located behind the library on the west side of Main Street.

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