Temple Square

From Academic Kids

This photo of Temple Square, circa , shows that the plot housed the tallest buildings in  at the time, namely the ,  and .
This photo of Temple Square, circa 1897, shows that the plot housed the tallest buildings in Salt Lake City at the time, namely the Salt Lake Temple, Tabernacle and Assembly Hall.

In 1847, when Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, settling at Salt Lake City, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) president Brigham Young selected a plot of the desert ground and said "Here we will build a temple to our God." When the city was surveyed, the block enclosing that location, a 10 acre (40,000 m²) plot, was designated for the temple, and became known as Temple Square. It also became the headquarters of LDS Church. Other buildings were built on the square, including the old tabernacle and endowment house, which were later torn down. The famous Salt Lake Tabernacle was built in 1867 to accommodate the conferences of the church, with a seating capacity of 6,000. Another beautiful church building called the Assembly Hall was later built with a seating capacity of 2,000. Today, Temple Square also features two visitors' centers, one of which houses a replica of a statue by Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen called the Christus.

As the Church has grown, its headquarters has expanded into the surrounding blocks. In 1917 an administration building was built on the block east of the temple, to be followed in 1972 by the twenty-six-story LDS Church Office Building. Another building on this block, the Hotel Utah was remodeled as additional office space in 1995 and in 2000 the church purchased the street between this block and temple square and replaced it with the West Church Plaza, connecting this block to Temple Square. A museum and genealogy library are located on the block west of Temple Square, and in 2001, the church completed a new 21,000 seat Conference Center.

With all these facilities, along with the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and organ, Temple Square has become a popular tourist destination, with five million visitors annually, more than the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park. The grounds are covered with beautiful gardens and musical concerts and other events are taking place every day. During the Christmas holiday season, thousands of lights sparkle from trees and shrubs around Temple Square. The lighting of Temple Square at this time is a popular event, attended by hundreds.

Due to its high volume of visitors, the gates outside Temple Square, which is surrounded by a wall, are popular places for anti-Mormon demonstrators. The demonstrators rarely picket, but are usually busy handing out tracts and literature against the LDS church to any visitors they can interest.

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