1 of 2
2 of 2
Shiloh Tabernacle 1Volunteers with the Shiloh Restoration and Preservation committee restored the tabernacle to its original condition.
Imagine weddings, family reunions, and funerals being held under a 135-year-old tabernacle.
Now imagine a 95-year-old woman driving a team of horses around the same place of worship to celebrate her birthday. Events like these were going on at Shiloh Tabernacle when it was built in Benton County near what is now Warsaw in 1873, and they continue today.
In 1858, James Tipton Sr., his son James Tipton Jr., and seven others became trustees of the 23-acre parcel of land. The land was deeded to the Methodist Church, and in 1873, a tabernacle was built out of hand-hewn lumber from the frame of a brush arbor, a structure made of small tree limbs and branches for outdoor church services. Cabins were built around the tabernacle and families would come and stay for weeks to have protracted meetings at the tabernacle.
Years passed, and after the Depression, the ancestors of the original trustees dispersed, and the interest in the tabernacle died down. The structure was neglected and near collapse in 2005, when members of the church and the community embarked on a campaign to restore it.
Rev. Phillip Fennell, sought approval from the church to restore the tabernacle, while church members ran ads and made presentations to spread the word. People of multiple denominations came together from around the community, the state, and the country to help raise money and recruit volunteers for the project.
The volunteers used the donated materials to restore the sacred place of worship with hand-hewn lumber that was cut on the acres surrounding the tabernacle and drawn in by a team of horses. The donated money was used to replace the shingles, and major structural timbers were pinned together with wooden pegs.
Since the renovation, the community has resumed using the tabernacle for events and celebrations. Shiloh has also received the McReynolds Award from the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation. This is the highest honor a historic preservation project can get. There were once hundreds of brush arbors and tabernacles in Missouri, but Shiloh is the only one in the state restored to its original condition.