For many years, the author has been interested in the subject of this thesis. He was raised in Canada and, in his early childhood, heard many stories concerning the part his great-grandfather Henry Grow played in the construction of the Great Mormon Tabernacle. As the author has lived in various parts of Canada and the United States, he has observed the widespread fame of the Tabernacle, and his interest in knowing its history has increased.
When the subject of the thesis was discussed with Dr. Christen Jensen, dean of the graduate school at Brigham Young University, he suggested that preliminary research be done to determine if there was sufficient source material available on the subject and also to ascertain if there was a need for such a study. While engaged in the preliminary research, the author was surprised to find that only a small amount of writing had been done on the subject of the Tabernacle, and this was restricted primarily to short news paper articles. The author also found widespread interest in having a history of the construction of the Tabernacle written. During the course of the research, the author has received requests for copies of the thesis from several persons with authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many others have expressed an interest in reading it and have indicated that they feel it is a very worthwhile project.
Two primary methods of research have been followed. The first was to search the old documents and newspapers of the time of the building of the Tabernacle and to take from them all pertinent information. Since very little of this information is indexed in any library available to the author, this research required a great deal of leafing through the old papers and documents. The second method has been to interview all of the persons who would chance to know anything authoritative about the construction of the Tabernacle. A list of those interviewed can be found in the appendix. Much of the information secured by these interviews is not completely authentic and cannot be proved, yet the lack of better sources of information justified the inclusion of pertinent items drawn from the memory of the persons interviewed.
The author wishes to extend his thanks to his thesis committee members for their guidance, help, and kindly suggestions. The
members of the staff of the Church Historian’s Office have been most cooperative and have given whatever guidance they could.
Other officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including President George Albert Smith and President David O.
McKay, have also shown fine cooperation with the author and have shown an interest in the project.
The purpose of this thesis is to present a historical study of the construction of the Salt Lake Tabernacle that preserves the history
of the construction of that remarkable building and also gives credit to those pioneer builders who showed such skill and determination. The author felt that this thesis was even more justified since 1947 was the centennial year of the entrance of the Mormon pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.
Because of the author’s personal relationship to Henry Grow, he has attempted to be careful in assessing the part played by Mr. Grow in the construction of the Tabernacle and to minimize the effect of family pride. It is hoped that he has been successful in approaching the problem scientifically.