Workers at the LDS Church’s under-construction Tabernacle Temple have unearthed the oldest baptistry in Utah County:
The baptistry, with its 5-by-9-foot font, was built around 1875 and is a significant discovery, said Benjamin Pykles, an LDS Church history department curator, in a press release. “This one city block spans nearly the entire history of the church in Utah with the construction of the original meetinghouse in the 1850s and 60s, the baptistry in the 1870s, the tabernacle in the 1890s, and now the temple under construction.”
According to my colleague Genelle Pugmire, the baptistry includes a water pipe and a wooden floor. Apparently there are also photographs of it, though I haven’t seen them:
In early photographs of the baptistry a chimney is shown, which archeologists believe vented a stove that heated the water to make the facility usable year-round. Large quantities of painted plaster fragments also were discovered, revealing the original sky-blue color of the baptistry’s interior walls.
Genelle’s article didn’t mention what was to become of the baptistry, but this “significant discovery” only adds to the argument that it would be a travesty to bulldoze the history surrounding the Tabernacle. (See previous posts on that topic here and here.)