Founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest church to originate on American soil, boasting a worldwide membership of over 14 million. in its tumultuous early years Smith intended to establish a New Jerusalem called Zion but pursuit of that goal was undermined in Ohio and Missouri and Illinois. As conflict escalated in illinois, Smith had predicted the church would need to go West and be established in the tops of the Rocky Mountains. In 1844 Smith and his brother Hyrum were hauled from a jail by a mob in Carthage, Illinois, where they had surrendered on charges of treason in relation to the destruction of an unfriendly press, and murdered by multiple musket blasts. 

Brigham Young ascended to the leadership of the church at the age of 46 and led the Mormon pioneers west as Smith had advised, first to Nebraska and then on to Utah where 143 men, three women and two children stopped and settled several miles east of the Great Salt Lake on July 24, 1847. Young set up a system of communal crop sharing and guided the settlement spiritually and politically as thousands of Mormon pioneers came to Salt Lake. But it was not to be an insular Mormon town for long.

The California Gold Rush brought many fortune-seekers through Salt Lake City which was becoming a trading post and crossroads. The railroads were crossing the territory as well and soon there would be rich mineral strikes in the nearby mountains. Most intrusive of all was the federal government that battled the Mormons, sometimes with soldiers but mostly through the courts, over the Mormon practice of polygamy. Tensions between the church and non-Mormons would not ease until the early 1900s.

By that time Salt Lake City was the dominant city of the Intermountain West, enriched by the mines and the railroads and the banks the wealth financed. Unlike many cities that annexed surrounding towns as they expanded through the 20th century, Salt Lake City watched its suburbs incorporate as separate towns and actually lost population. Downtown withered as the metropolitan area exploded. It was not until the 1990s that the exodus was arrested.

Our walking tour will explore that historic core that grew on orderly axes from Temple Square, the ten acres where Brigham Young proclaimed to “build a temple to our God” and that is where we will begin, amidst gardens and fountains...

Salt Lake Temple

Brigham Young selected the site for the temple just four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley and laid the cornerstone on April 6, 1853. Forty years later to the day the temple, the sixth and largest of more than 130 Mormon temples, was dedicated. In that time most of the original sandstone had to be replaced with quartz monzonite quarried from Little Cottonwood Canyon. The golden Angel Moroni placed on the capstone of the temple symbolizes the angel mentioned in Revelation 14:6 that will come to welcome in the Second Coming of Christ. The six spires of the temple represent the power of the priesthood. The temple is considered sacred and the interior is not open to the public.


LDS Conference Center

With seating for 21,000, this building was constructed in 2000 to take over assembly responsibilities for the church shouldered by the Salt Lake Tabernacle for more than 130 years. The interior is designed so every seat has an unobstructed view of the pulpit; the exterior, that sits at the base of Capitol Hill, is landscaped with 21 species of native grasses and wildflowers and scores of Utah trees on the four-acre roof so as to present a bucolic visage from the hilltop. 


Salt Lake Tabernacle

Constructed as a meetinghouse between 1864 and 1867 this was the first permanent structure to be completed on Temple Square. The wooden lattice-truss dome was an engineering wonder of its day, held together with dowels and wedges and supported by forty-four sandstone piers. The piers are on the outside of the building so inside the acoustics are so pure that the tearing of a newspaper on the pulpit can be heard clearly throughout the Tabernacle. When he saw it years later seminal American architect Frank Lloyd Wright anointed the tabernacle as “one of the architectural masterpieces of the country and perhaps the world.” 


Salt Lake Assembly Hall

 Obed Taylor, the official church architect, sketched out a Victorian Gothic design for the Assembly Hall in 1877 to resemble a small cathedral. He festooned the building with 24 spires around its perimeter. It was constructed with the same quartz monzonite stone as the Salt Lake Temple but the stones were not cut with quite as much care resulting in a darker, rougher texture. In front of Assembly Hall is the Seagull Monument that commemorates the “Miracle of the Gulls.” According to tradition the first pioneer crop was being devoured by crickets when flocks of native seagulls swooped in, feasted on the crickets and saved the harvest. The California gull is now the Utah State bird and the monument of a pair of insectivorous gulls was cast by sculptor Mahonri M. Young, a grandson of Brigham Young, in 1913.


Hotel Utah/Joseph Smith Memorial Building
South Temple and South Main Street

The Hotel Utah began to rise on the town’s most important intersection in 1909 and from 1911, when the first guests were greeted, until it shuttered 76 years later it was the guest house in town where Presidents, captains of industry and celebrities would come to sign the guest register. Working with a reported $2 million budget, architects John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom of Los Angeles tapped the Italian Renaissance style for “the Grande Dame of Hotels” and left scarcely a foot of the glazed-brick and terra-cotta facade undecorated. In 1987 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was always the majority investor, closed the hotel and put it through a complete makeover to be used for church and community purposes.


southeast corner of South Temple and South Main streets

For a brief time in the 19th century cast iron enjoyed a flurry of popularity in the construction of downtown American buildings. It was inexpensive and quick to install and could be molded into decorative facades. The cast-iron front for the Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) was the largest in Utah. The enterprise was founded in 1868 by Brigham Young to combat price-gouging by non-Mormon merchants. The complimentary businesses soon banded together into one of America’s first true department stores and the only one owned by a religious organization. Eventually the ZCMI became a manufacturer of its own clothing, household goods and food-related products evolving into an economic powerhouse in the community that would survive until 1999 when it was sold to the May Department stores which switched the nameplate to its flagship, Macy’s.  

Deseret National Bank/Wells Fargo
79 South Main Street at northeast corner of 100 South

There has been a bank on this corner since the 1860s when William Hooper and Horace Eldridge began taking deposits from a small adobe structure that sat twenty feet back from the street and required an extension to reach its customers. With Brigham Young at the helm the operation was transformed into the Deseret National Bank in the 1870s and a new building arrived in 1875. This 14-story Neoclassical tower was raised by Deseret Bank in 1919. Lewis T. Cannon and John Fetzer, who designed buildings in town for almost thirty years, followed the convention of the day and composed the 192-foot skyscraper in the image of a three-part classical column as was the typical practice of the time with a defined base (the tall Ionic columns), a shaft (the unadorned center floors) and a capital (the ornate cornice). First Security Corporation gobbled up Deseret National Bank during the Great Depression, moved its headquarters here from Ogden, and stayed 68 years before merging with Wells Fargo in 2000.  


Utah Commercial and Savings Bank Building
22 East 100 South  

Around 1890 the brawny Richardsonian Romanesque style, based on the designs of Henry Hobson Richardson of Boston, were favored for large imposing government buildings, including in Salt Lake City as you will soon see. Here architect Richard K.A. Kletting adapted the style for a narrow, mid-block structure for Francis Armstrong’s Utah Commercial Savings Bank. Armstrong was also the town mayor at the time. Hallmarks of the style on display visible here include astrong, ached entrance, rough-cut sandstone and a front gable.


Eagle Emporium/Zions First National Bank
102 South Main Street at southwest corner of 100 South

William Jennings was an Englishman who sailed to America in his twenties where he met and married a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Missouri. They set off for Utah Territory in 1852 and five years later Jennings opened a butcher shop. A tannery followed in 1861 and the enterprising Jennings became the richest man in the Territory as he shifted into the mercantile trade. Architect William Paul designed a suitably impressive two-story building here for Jennings’ Eagle Emporium, a second story came along in 1885. In 1890 the store became the Utah First National Bank and it received a Beaux Arts makeover in 1916. Subsequent years brought a name change to Zions First National Bank, carved into the entablature, and a lopping off of the top two floors to return Salt Lake City’s oldest commercial structure close to its original proportions. The clock out front is a rare survivor of street ornamentation from the 19th century; when it was installed in 1873 a waterwheel was used to power the mechanism.   

Daft Building
128 South Main Street

Elias L.T. Harrison learned his architecture in England and after arriving in Salt Lake City in 1861 became one of the town’s leading Victorian designers for the next 40 years. This is the best surviving example of his work, an exuberant Queen Anne with protruding bay windows centered on the upper floors. The client was Sarah Daft, who paid $17,500 in 1890 to base her real estate operations here. Her real passion was establishing a non-denominational retirement home and to that end she left the entirety of her fortune - some $20,000 - to establishing a home for elderly women. The Sarah Daft Home opened in 1913 and it nears its 100th anniversary as the oldest continually operating assisted living facility in Utah.

Kearns Building
136 South Main Street

John Parkinson and Edwin Bergstrom, the dominant architectural partnership in early 20th century Los Angeles, came to Salt Lake City to design this 10-story Renaissance Revival tower in 1911. Thomas Kearns could afford the bill - a Canadian-born Nebraskan he had come West to work the mines in Park City in 1883 and struck it rich with his partner David Keith in the Silver King Mine that became one of the West’s most famous strikes. Kearns plowed his money into railroads, banks, the Salt Lake Tribune and a seat in the United States Senate. Thomas Kearns died in 1918 of a stroke eight days after he was struck by a reckless driver a block away from here at South Temple and Main; in 1937 his widow donated their home to State which still uses it as the Governor’s Mansion.

Salt Lake Tribune Building
143 South Main Street

 This is a rare glimpse of the Art Deco style on Salt Lake City streets. Architects Hyrum Conrad Pope and Harold W. Burton infused their early Deco creation with Gothic influences in 1924. Salt Lake City then spiraled into an economic malaise and there wasn’t another major building raised in town for 30 years - long after Art Deco had faded from popularity. Ezra Thompson, who had served two non-consecutive terms as mayor, was the money man. The most famous occupant was the Salt Lake Tribune which purchased the building in 1937. The paper first hit the streets in 1871 as the Mormon Tribune founded by church members disgruntled with Brigham Young’s leadership.

First National Bank
163 South Main Street

This is the oldest cast iron-front building in Utah. The design came from the pen of Richard M. Upjohn, who was working in the New York office of his father, America’s most famous church architect and the leading cheerleader for the Gothic Revival style. First National Bank could well afford the services of a prestigious New York architect when this building was planned in 1873 and didn’t think twice when the estimated cost of $80,000 swelled to $140,000. But the Panic of 1873 that sunk the country into depression drove the bank out of business by the end of 1874.

Salt Lake Herald Building
169 SouthStreet

 William C. Dunbar and Edward L. Sloan, elders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, put out their first issue of the Salt Lake Herald on Sunday, June 5, 1870, trumpeting its independence and neutrality. In reality the Herald was little more than a house organ for the church which served it well until 1909 when Utah Republicans purchased the paper and re-branded it The Salt Lake Herald-Republican. Its new political focus sent the paper into closure in 1920. This Beaux arts confection was headquarters beginning in 1905, designed by John C. Craig, a Chicago architect who found several commissions in Utah. The building is designed around a central light well that promoted air circulation in the days before air conditioning, a typical convention of the day but the gap often faced away from the street.     

Walker Bank Building
175 South Main Street at northeast corner of 200 South  

Matthew and Mercy Long Walker converted to Mormonism in England and brought their young family with four boys to Utah in 1852. The brothers went into merchandising, peddling goods to Mormon settlements but their most important product was one they bought - not one they sold - a safe, which they used to protect customers’ gold. After the Walker brothers refused to pay the ten percent tithing to the Mormon church that began in 1860 they were excommunicated and Brigham Young decreed that church members not patronize the business. But the Walkers flourished anyway, supplying miners and investing in mines as well. And always there was the banking, for which they received a national charter in 1885. The Walker Bank Building was raised in 1912 and was the tallest building in Utah. The architects were William Sylvester Eames and Thomas Crane Young from St. Louis who teamed up in 1885 and built a national reputation with classically-flavored commissions like this. The Walker Brothers Bank remained in the family until 1956 and the nameplate survived until 1981.

Continental Bank Building
208 South Main Street at southwest corner of 200 South

James E. Cosgriff left Vermont in 1890 to run sheep in Wyoming with his brothers, building the herd to more than 100,000 head. He took his range profits and started buying up banks which he merged into the Continental National Bank & Trust, for which this 13-story skyscraper with an unusually narrow footprint was erected in 1923. The Renaissance Revival design was provided by George William Kelham who was born in Massachusetts in 1871 and educated at Harvard and the legendary Ecole des Beaux-Arts in France. Working in the New York office of Trowbridge and Livingston, Kelham was sent to San Francisco in 1906 to supervise construction of the Palace Hotel and never left, planning some of the town’s most elegant buildings. Look up to see faces carved in the stone above the Romanesque-styled arched windows. 

Karrick Building
236 South Main Street

This building and its immediate neighbor to the south, the Lollin Block, are early works of architect Richard Kletting whose greatest fame came with his design of the Utah State Capitol. This ornate brick-stone-cast iron three-story structure was one of his first commercial projects in town, raised for Lewis Karrick in 1887. Karrick was a banker and politician. His building was truly a mixed-use affair - retail establishments on the ground floor and a gambling hall and brothel upstairs. 

Lollin Block
238 South Main Street

Kletting designed this building in 1894 and in just seven years you can see the transition he was making from the showy Victorian styles to the more refined detailing of the Classical Revival styles then infiltrating American design. The brick has been covered in plaster and scored to resemble more expensive stone. This was both an investment property and a home for John Lollin who ran a taproom on Main Street.     

Keith-O’Brien Building
242-256 South Main Street  

David Keith was Thomas Kearns’ partner in one of the most fabulous silver strikes in the West, the Silver King mine in Park City. While Kearns used his money for power and influence in finance and politics, Keith, a Canadian who spent many years at sea, preferred to spend his share of the $10 million silver mine in the mercantile world. He hired Frederick Albert Hale, a busy local architect, to design this retail palace in 1902. Keith poured $150,000 into his building and promoted it as “the most beautiful store in all the West.” A century later you can still look up to see classically-inspired ornamentation.

Clift Building
10 West 300 South at northwest corner of Main Street

Francis D. Clift was a man who knew his way around an ox team. Born in England in 1832 he made his way to Utah as a young man on an ox cart in 1851. He opened the Town Clock Store on South Main Street and made eight trips back to Missouri by ox team to stock his emporium. Clift invested in the Emma Mine in Cottonwood Canyon that was the first producing mine in Utah. Clift’s money went into real estate but he never saw this building - his widow Virtue Butcher Clift used her inheritance to erect the office tower in 1919 when she was 81 years old. Architect James Leslie Chesebro slathered the lower floors in horizontal bands and saved the heavy ornamentation for the upper levels. Everyone says the Clift Building is the largest building in Salt Lake City dressed in terra-cotta so it must be true.

American Stores Tower/Wells Fargo Center
East 300 South at northeast corner of Main Street

Scraping above the LDS Church Office Building in Temple Square by less than three feet, this is Salt Lake City’s tallest tower. It was originally constructed in 1998 for American Stores, a conglomerate of grocery chains and drugstores that began life in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburbs in 1917. A year after the building was completed the company was acquired by Albertson’s and moved away. The 422-foot high skyscraper came with a price tag of $100 million and is dressed in Indiana limestone and Minnesota granite. 

Railroad Exchange Building/Judge Building
8 East 300 South at southeast corner of Main Street

John Judge held a major interest in the John J. Daly Mine in Park City and also served as company foreman. He literally worked himself to death in 1892 from ingesting mine dust. Mary Judge used the family fortune to take a stake in many buildings in downtown Salt Lake City and bankrolled this seven-story “fireproof” structure in 1907. The Judge family architect, David C. Dart, designed the handsome building which was used initially as office space for 22 railroads. 

Felt Building
341 South Main Street

Orange James Salisbury was an upstate New Yorker who came West to work in the office of the Star Route Stage, which his brother had helped start. When the future of the stagecoach began to cloud, Salisbury took off for Idaho where, with no prior mining knowledge, he made a fortune smelting ore. He came to Salt Lake City where he became a major player in state politics. While O.J. Salisbury owned this building it carries the name of Charles B. Felt, the secretary of the Salisbury Investment Company who was a heavy investor in city real estate. This five-story commercial building was designed by master architect Richard K.A. Kletting and was the first in town to be faced in terra-cotta tile.


I.O.O.F. Building
40 Market Street

The Middle Ages in Great Britain saw the banding together of tradesmen into guilds to promote business and fellowship. The carpenters had their own guild, the bricklayers had their own guild and so on. Trades that did not have a large number of practitioners welded into hodgepodge guilds known as Odd Fellows. In 19th century America an International Order of Odd Fellows lodge building, usually exuberantly ornate, could be found in virtually every town. Salt Lake City’s was constructed in the 1891. The Romanesque facade is enlivened with a riot of textures and materials. The historic clubhouse was originally sited across the street and was recently hauled to this side.  

New York Hotel/New Yorker
60 Market Street

This is another building of Orange J. Salisbury’s, constructed in 1906 as one of the town’s luxury hotels. It is another project from Richard K.A. Kletting. Guests were few and far between for many years in the mid-20th century and the building was condemned by the city in the 1970s. It found new life in 1978 as the New Yorker eatery. 


Boston and Newhouse Buildings
343/359 South Main Street at Exchange Place

The growth of Utah’s mining industry spawned the development of Exchange Place in the early 1900s south of the town’s traditional commercial center on Main Street. The driving force for this new business nexus in Salt Lake City was Samuel Newhouse, who made millions in Colorado mines and pioneered an innovative cyanide process of extracting copper from low-grade ore that made his Bingham, Utah mine the largest open-pit mine in the world. Newhouse bankrolled the town’s first two skyscrapers as a gateway to Exchange Place, which he envisioned as a Utah “Wall Street.” The Beaux Arts buildings with rounded corners carry a big-city pedigree - they were designed by Chicago star architect Henry Ives Cobb in 1911. The Boston Building was named after one of Newhouse’s mines. Samuel Newhouse would meet financial reversals soon after and two additional planned buildings never happened.

United States Court House and Post Office
350 South Main Street at northwest corner of 400 South

Prior to 1900 most Americans had scant doings with the Federal government beyond mail delivery. In 1902 Washington showed up in Salt Lake City packing the first Neoclassical building Utah had ever seen, spending $500,000 for a new post office and courtroom; it was expanded in the 1930s and converted strictly to judicial use. The original softer Kyune sandstone was completely replaced with Utah granite at this time. A colonnade of fifteen fluted, engaged Doric columns spans the eastern facade along Main Street, supporting a classical entablature and parapet with balustrade.


New Grand Hotel
7 East 400 South at northeast corner of Main Street

In 1881 John J. Daly had nothing to show for his mining efforts beyond 24 unproven claims when he started the Daly Mining Company. Ten years later Daly mines were extracting some of the richest silver ore in Utah and the company was trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Some of those profits built this five-story, 150-room hotel. The architect was John C. Craig, a Chicago man who also had a piece of the action in Daly’s silver mines. 


Commercial Club
32 Exchange Place at southwest corner of Cactus Place

Professional men from Salt Lake City in 1902 organized the Commerial Club to promote the city to out-of-state business. The club would father the “See America First League” that would be adapted into a national tourism campaign. In 1908 the Club hired architects Walter E. Ware and Alberto O. Treganza with the mandate to design a club headquarters in the image of the New York Athletic Club created by legendary architect Stanford White. After $400,000 the resulting six-story Renaissance Revival structure became one of the most elegant buildings ever constructed in Salt Lake City.

Newhouse Realty Building
44-56/62-64 Exchange Place at southeast corner of Cactus Place

This low-slung building was built in 1917, two years after Samuel Newhouse’s empire crumbled into bankruptcy. It was designed to be used as commercial office space and still serves that function almost a century later.

Salt Lake Stock & Mining Exchange Building
39 Exchange Place

The Exchange was organized in 1888 as a way for mine operators to offer shares of their stakes to raise capital for further exploration. This Neoclassical temple of commerce, raised on plans drawn by John C. Craig, was crafted of sandstone and brick in 1909. Afterwards it was the heart around which Exchange Place pulsated.


Hotel Plandome
northwest corner of 400 South and State Street

German-born Albert Fisher emigrated to Utah in the early 1870s and by 1884 he was running the Fisher Brewing Company. With plans drawn by Richard Kletting, Fisher erected this ornate building in 1903 as a home for the Utah Federation of Labor. A few years later it was converted to a hotel, as the sign on the side says.

Scott M. Matheson Courthouse
450 South State Street at southwest corner of 400 South

Dominated by a full-height, six-story glass rotunda the courthouse was dubbed the “Taj Mahal” by some wags when the Utah Supreme Court left the State Capitol and relocated here in 1998. The house of justice carries the name of Scott Milne Matheson, a railroad lawyer who rose to the statehouse as governor from 1977 to 1985. 

Salt Lake City and County Building
451 Washington Square at southeast corner of State Street and 400 South

 Named for George Washington, the square is the site of the original 1847 Mormon pioneers’ camp in Salt Lake City. The town’s government building was raised in the early 1890s to replace the Salt Lake City Council Hall and Salt Lake County Courthouse that had served since the 1860s. Local architect Henry Monheim teamed with Wichita designers George W. Bird and Willis T. Proudfoot to form a shop just for this building, the commission for which was won in a design competition. Their monumental Richardsonian Romanesque building, which was intended to rival the Mormon Temple as an architectural icon, was crafted from rusticated blocks of gray Utah Kyune sandstone. Easy to quarry with natural seams that allowed it to be excavated easily, Kyune sandstone was a popular building material in nascent Salt Lake City. The central tower is surmounted by a statue of Columbia and soars 256 feet high. The building has five floors and over 100 rooms, some of which were used as the first Utah State Capitol until the current building was finished in 1916.


Brooks Arcade
260 South State Street at northwest corner of 300 South

J.G. Brooks was the first Jew to settle in Utah and in 1891 he built this European-style shopping arcade. Samuel C. Dallas and William S. Hedges, busy architects for decades in town, delivered the Romanesque design that called for six stories but the weight of the stone caused builders to stop at three.

Orpheum Theatre/Promised Valley Playhouse
132 South State Street

 The Renaissance Revival exterior, including a twelve-foot high carving of Venus, survive largely intact after the several lifetimes this theater enjoyed since its creation in 1905. Unfortunately the facade and lobby are all that remains of architect Carl M. Neuhausen’s creation for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit; Venus was the symbol of the theater chain started by Gustav Walter in San Francisco in 1886. In 1918 the stage was converted into a movie palace, operating under such names as the Casino, Wilkes, Roxey and Lyric before going dark in 1971. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints immediately gobbled up the property and restored the building for church plays, renaming it the Promised Valley Playhouse. Once the town’s most stylish movie house, the building was crumbling in the 1990s and no one was willing to take on the multi-million dollar restoration so the auditorium was demolished in 2003.  

The Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company Building
98 South State Street at northwest corner of 100 South

As telephones became universal appliances in the 1920s and 1930s telephone companies required massive buildings to contain their burgeoning operations. Typically the newly popular Art Deco style was chosen for these new downtown monoliths and such was the case in Salt Lake City. Raymond J. Ashton and Raymond L. Evans infused their Deco design with a course of bas-relief ornament. When the building was completed in 1939 with only two stories it won an award as Salt Lake City’s most outstanding new building; the additional four stories came along in the 1940s.  

Social Hall Heritage Museum
51 South State Street

It wasn’t all back-breaking plowing and breaking rocks for Mormon settlers in Salt Lake City. As early as 1852 a simple Greek Revival building was constructed here for bouts of singing and dancing and an occasional lecture. The adobe building was cleared from the streets in 1922 but in 1991 its foundation was uncovered when workers were digging out an underground walkway. The foundation was removed so the walkway could be finished and then reassembled with a steel frame and glass walls that resembles the original structure.

Belvedere Apartments
29 South State Street

The Belvedere was built by the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a real estate investment in late 1919. Like many early city multi-unit properties the Belvedere was not strictly an apartment but boasted amenities typically associated with high-end hotels like doormen and elevator operators and “in-unit meal deliveries” as room service was then known. Less attention was lavished on the spare Neoclassical exterior by local architects Miles Miller, Taylor Woolley and Clifford Evans for the 11-story tower fashioned in the form of a narrow “H” and dressed in dark reddish-brown bricks. The LDS Church got out of the landlord business here in 1951 but nearly 100 years later the Belvedere is still renting units. 

Public Library/Hansen Planetarium
15 South State Street

The first books in Salt Lake City were lent from the City-County Building in 1898. Mining millionaire John Quackenbos Packard agreed to donate the site and fund the building provided the City maintain and keep it as a library. Celebrated New York architects George Lewis Hines and Christopher Grant LaFarge provided the grand Beaux Arts design for the library which was executed in 1905 of Sanpete oolitic sandstone that was quarried along the base of the Wasatch Plateau. The library outgrew this space and moved in 1964; it was replaced by the Hansen Planetarium that included a space science library, somewhat satisfying Packard’s original mandate. The planetarium closed in 2003 and now the building is occupied by a consulting firm, which doesn’t.  

Alta Club
100 East South Temple at southeast corner of State Street

The rise of Utah’s mining industry began populating the town with non-Mormons and the Alta Club - named for a local mining district - was founded on March 3, 1883 as a place where these folks could mingle and socialize in a clubhouse with “a card room, a bar stocked with the finest liquors and wines available in the territory, a tobacco stand with the best cigars, and a dining room under orders to serve the best food in the city and the best steaks in the territory.” The Alta Club bounced around town for a few years before landing in this sumptuous Italian Renaissance facility designed by Frederick Albert Hale in 1898. Spruced up with the finest modern accoutrements, the Alta Club is still functioning as a gathering spot for Utah’s business and political leaders.

Beehive House
67 East South Temple at northwest corner of State Street

In his dual role as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and governor of the Utah Territory, Brigham Young had this building constructed in 1854 to serve as a residence and government offices. Young’s brother-in-law, Truman O. Angell, sketched out the plans for the Greek Revival structure with a two-story verandah and an observatory. The building is constructed of stucco and sandstone and covered with a stucco veneer. Behind the Beehive House along South Temple and attached by a suite of rooms, the Lion House was constructed two years later to function as Young’s offices and provide living space for more of his family. There is actually a bedroom under each of its 20 steeply-pitched gables. Brigham Young would die in the Lion House in 1877. The Beehive House spent time as a university building and dormitory before being restored to its 1850s look in 1960 and opened to the public; the Lion House is now a restaurant.

Brigham Young Historic Park
northeast corner of State Street and1st Avenue

Born in 1801, Brigham Young was a Vermonter who took over for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founder Joseph Smith and led the Mormon pioneers from Illinois to Utah. Once in Salt Lake Valley Young oversaw the development of the community and served as Territorial Governor from 1850 until 1856. This patch of land was part of Brigham Young’s farm; it has been landscaped and outfitted with statues and an undershot waterwheel in City Creek.

Brooks-Miller-Geoghegan Home
204 North State Street at northeast corner of 200 North/Capitol Boulevard

This is a textbook Queen Anne Victorian home from the 1890s. Trademark elements of the style seen here include, asymmetrical massing, corner turret, multiple building materials, gingerbread detailing and large wood-turn porch. Charles Brooks who built the house was a mining engineer who put in time as United States Deputy Mineral Surveyor for Utah.

The Woodruff-Riter Home
225 North State Street at northwest corner of 200 North

“Woodruff” was Edward Day Woodruff, a surgeon for the Union Pacific Railroad. Once in Salt Lake City hedabbled in various civic enterprises, including the money-making Troy Laundry. He built this 11,000 square foot English manor home in 1906. John A. Headlund, a Swedish-born designer, and Silas B. Wood, a carpenter, drew inspiration from the Italian Renaissance for the exterior. He lived here his entire life. “Riter” was Franklin Riter who married the Woodruff daughter Leslie who inherited the house. After doing duty as law offices the building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has entered its second hundred years as an inn.


Dickson-Gardner-Wolfe House
273 East Capitol Street at northwest corner of Hillside Avenue

Since this stately brick Neoclassical house was constructed in 1905 it has harbored a distinguished roster of owners behind its elaborate Doric portico. William H. Dickson was the United States District Attorney for Utah Territory; James P. Gardner was a vice-president at National City Bank; James H. Wolfe was Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court; and Kay Malone, wife of Utah Jazz basketball legend Karl Malone, operated a bed and breakfast here.


White Memorial Chapel
128 East 300 North at southeast corner of East Capitol Street

This meetinghouse was built to serve the Salt Lake 18th Ward with ground being broken in 1880 at the corner of Second Avenue and A Street. The architect was Obed Taylor who designed many important early Utah buildings and his Gothic Revival creation here influenced chapels built afterwards around the state. Unfortunately one of the first services held in the 18th Ward Chapel was a funeral service for Taylor who died in 1881 at the age of 56. In 1973 the building was torn down, but with an eye to a future reconstruction. All the handmade bricks were numbered and important design elements saved. The rebirth indeed took place a few years later on Capitol Hill largely through the benefaction of Kenneth and Ada White. 

Council Hall
southeast corner of North State Street and 300 North

Here is another relocated building with a new prominent home opposite the State Capitol. This impressive building was once Salt Lake City Hall from 1866 to 1894. It is the work of William Harrison Folsom who was the Church Architect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning in Nauvoo, Illinois where he made the acquaintance of Joseph Smith. Folsom had planned to accompany Brigham Young to Utah but was delayed in meeting the party and did not make his way West until 1860. For City Hall, which was replacing an earlier, smaller structure, Folsom drew inspiration from the Federal and Greek Revival styles used for important early 19th century American buildings. Sandstone blasted from the Red Butte Canyon was used in construction, hauled to the original building site at 120 East First South Street by Utah’s first chartered railroad. The historic government building, which had also been the meeting place for the Territorial Legislature, was dismantled into 325 sandstone slabs and put back together here in the early 1960s.

Utah State Capitol
300 North at head of State Street

In the early days of the Utah Territory governor Brigham Young selected Fillmore, named for sitting president Millard Fillmore, as the territorial capital owing to its central location. President Fillmore funneled $20,000 of federal money into a grand, cross-shaped statehouse but after the first wing was constructed the Utah legislature pulled up stakes for the largest town in the Territory, Salt Lake City, in 1856. Fillmore was left with a partially constructed brick building and the town would never grew much above 2,000 citizens. In Salt Lake City the legislature began a peripatetic existence, moving from one temporary headquarters to another, never enjoying its own home. Even after Utah became a state in 1896 the capitol was located in the Salt Lake City and County Building. It would not be until 1916, 56 years after abandoning its barely-started statehouse in Fillmore, that Utah’s government settled into a proper capitol. The Renaissance Revival design came from Richard K.A. Kletting, who prevailed over 23 other local architecture firms, winning the final vote by four-to-three. Hisl building, fashioned from Utah granite, features a 165-foot high rotunda under a copper dome centered around a facade of 24 Corinthian columns. The price tag was $2,739,529.

Pioneer Memorial Museum
300 North Main Street at 300 North

Curated by the NationalSocietyoftheDaughtersofUtah Pioneers, this is purported to be the world’s largest collection of artifacts on a single subject. The story of the Mormon pioneers is told in a building that is a 1950s replica of the Old Salt Lake Theater designed by William Folsom. The original had been central to life in the valley and a phenomenal building in a frontier outpost. When it was razed in 1928, its massive red-pine timbers were so well fitted it required months of demolition to bring it down.

Alfred McCune Home
200 North Main Street at northeast corner of 200 North

Alfred McCune was born in India in 1849 where his father converted to Mormonism after meeting two sailors who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By the time Alfred was 10 his family was in Utah; he began his working life as a farmer and stock herder and supplied provisions to the railroads that were buildng across the Territory. Alfred McCune would go on to build those railroads himself in Utah, Canada and South America. He invested in mines with partners like William Hearst and J.P. Morgan that returned enough profits to make McCune one of Utah’s first millionaires. With his far-flung business interests Alfred McCune still didn’t have his own house in Salt Lake City by the late 1890s. He did not take the construction of this home for which he declared “vast display, extravagant pretensions, stately or gorgeous effects not to be tolerated,” lightly. He hired local architect S.C. Dallas and sent him to Europe for two years to study architectural styles. Dallas delivered a design grounded in the Shingle and Stick architectural styles and as materials for the house were imported from around the world McCune is reported to have stopped counting the costs after they reached $500,000. The McCunes moved into the house, acclaimed as one of the grandest ever built in the American West, in 1901. In 1920 they moved to Los Angeles and gave the house to the Mormon church.