The Paris Tabernacle is also open for public tours. Guided tours, about 30 minutes long, highlight the faith and sacrifice of early Church members who donated their time, labor, and money to build the tabernacle. The main floor is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Public restrooms are available.
Settlers established Paris in the late 1860s and soon needed a meetinghouse where they could gather to worship God. Although plans were created right away, work on the tabernacle did not begin in earnest for more than 20 years. Laborers and resources were needed to complete other buildings first, such as the Logan Tabernacle and the Salt Lake Temple. In 1884, construction began on the Paris Tabernacle using a new set of plans designed by Joseph Don Carlos Young, who was a professionally trained engineer and a son of Brigham Young. Local Latter-day Saints quarried red sandstone from Indian Creek, about 24 miles southeast of Paris. During winter months, they used wagons to cart the stone across the frozen Bear Lake, cutting several miles from the journey.
The Paris Tabernacle seats 3,000 people and is designed to give every person a clear view of the pulpit. To achieve this, Young included a sloping floor, a second-floor gallery, and a semicircular choir loft. Stories about the tabernacle suggest that the roof was designed with shipbuilding techniques, but Young used the typical architectural techniques of the time.
President George Q. Cannon, then a member of the First Presidency, dedicated the tabernacle in 1889. At that time, it was known as the Bear Lake Tabernacle. Since then, the electrical and heating and air systems have been modernized while preserving the building’s 1880s appearance. The Paris Tabernacle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.