Temple Square and the history of Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is full of beautiful structures such as Rice Eccles Stadium, and the capitol building on North Capitol Hill, as well as rich history such as The Cathedral of the Madeleine and Temple Square.
At Temple Square, you will find some of Salt Lake’s most historical sites. From the LDS Temple to the Tabernacle, and inside the Church History Museum, you will experience a large part of this city’s history and how the pioneersof The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints trekked across our country to come to Utah where they founded the City of Salt Lake. Temple Square encourages families from all over the world to visit and learn about the origins of Salt Lake City and the foundation of the LDS church in Utah.
Salt Lake City was founded on July 24, 1847 by a group of pioneers from the LDS church. Led by Brigham Young, the pioneers were in search of a place where they could freely practice their religion. These people were the first to settle permanently in the Salt Lake Valley. The group consisted of 143 men, 3 women, and only 2 children. Shortly after arriving, they began planning the city from a single point, the corner or South Temple and Main Street, and fanning out into a grid system of 10-acre blocks. There you can find the “Base and Meridian”, a small statue honoring the very center of the city. Today the center of Downtown Salt Lake City is Temple Square.
A few other locations in Temple Square are still there to honor Brigham Young. The Beehive House, built in 1854, was home to Brigham Young and other church leaders. Today many of Brigham Young’s belongings remain in the Beehive House now a functioning museum.
The beautiful park on the southeast corner of State Street and North Temple was property owned by Brigham Young. Now known as Brigham Young Historic Park, this is a beautiful place for walks and other activities.
Although Temple Square holds an immense amount of history, possibly the most impactful structure on the block, if not in the entire city, is the Salt Lake Temple. Only four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, on July 28, 1847, Mormon prophet Brigham Young marked the location that the Temple would be built. This extraordinary granite structure was built over a period of 40 years. The cornerstone was laid on April 6, 1853, and the templewas dedicated on April 6, 1893. This 253,015 square foot structure has walls that range from 6 feet thick to 9 feet thick. The Salt Lake Temple is made from quartz monzonite that was transported by oxen and after 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad, from Little Cottonwood Canyon, only twenty miles southeast of its location. Although the Salt Lake Temple is the first Mormon Temple to begin construction, 4 others were completed during the 40 year period, and now 156 temples can be found worldwide. The best times to visit the temple are in the spring and fall during the LDS General Conference, with the leaves falling and the flowers blooming, and during Christmas, when over 1 million Christmas lights are shining throughout the month of December. The Salt Lake Temple is truly something to marvel at.
Temple Square is also home to the Tabernacle. Home of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, this structure was completed in 1867 as a place for the members of the church to gather to hear the words of their leaders. The tabernacle is a dome-shaped auditorium with such great acoustic sensitivity that a pin dropped at the pulpit can be heard at the other end of the room. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir consists of 360 members, both women and men. With a massive 11,623 pipe organ and one of the world’s largest choirs accompanying it, imagine the beautiful sound that is to be heard.
With many other options such as the Church History Museum, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and the Assembly Hall, Temple Square is full of rich history and beautiful landscape and structures. A visit to Temple Square will leave a life-lasting impression.
For more information on Temple Square and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, please visit any of the following websites:
“Salt Lake City’s Temple Square | Official Site.” Temple Square. N.p., n.d. Web.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Salt Lake City History.” Utah.com. N.p., n.d. Web.