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Local group works to restore Wellsville’s historic tabernacle

March 11th, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life

By Jimena Herrero

WELLSVILLE – In 2009, the Wellsville Tabernacle was closed to the public after an attempt to update the heating and cooling system led to the discovery of over-stressed truss beams. Today, members of the Wellsville Tabernacle Foundation continue their fight to save the historic building, which has been a part of the community since approximately 1902, and promote the effort on a Facebook page.

“Many people think that the building is condemned but it isn’t,” Julie Johnson, a member of the foundation, said. “At this point the building is not beyond repair, it just needs structural updates.”

The Wellsville Tabernacle Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in 1994, is currently working to raise the $150,000 needed to repair and re-open the historic building.

“So far we’ve raised around $5,000 from community support alone,” Kaylene Ames, president of the foundation said. “We’re also actively seeking grant money and donations.”

The Tabernacle, which was used as a community center from 1994 to 2009, once hosted various events, clubs and classes. “At one point the building was being rented two to three times a day,” Ames said. “What many people don’t realize is that without the Tabernacle, there is no other place in the community for people to do those things.”

The Tabernacle has been a defining feature of Wellsville for many years and while its historic value is apparent to most, there are some in the community who believe tearing it down would be more cost efficient.

“When we looked at the cost of tearing it down, we saw that it was actually more expensive than restoring it,” Johnson said. “This building is still structurally beautiful and has so much potential. Why not fix it up?”

The Tabernacle Foundation is currently holding family-friendly events on a monthly basis in order to raise money for repairs.

A spring carnival is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, which will feature booths, food and activities. Those interested in purchasing tickets, donating to the foundation or becoming a member are encouraged to contact Ames at 435-245-6950.

Ames and Johnson hope members of the community will understand the historic value of the building and help preserve this important part of the community.

“As the first settled city in Cache Valley, Wellsville has such a rich history,” Johnson said. “This building is history and we need to keep history alive.”


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