By Kiara Bean, Editor-in-Chief
Welcome to the last stop in our trip through the state of Utah. On this leg of the journey, we will be visiting the beautiful Salt Lake City. I know that, in the past, I have only covered hidden gems and smaller towns, and I didn’t focus on well-known cities like Salt Lake City. However, I feel like no trip to Utah would be complete without visiting this state capital.
Originally, the land which later became the state of Utah was inhabited by different Native American tribes like the Shoshone, Navejo, Paiute, Goshute, Pueblo (Anasazi), and Ute. In 1847, the Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young settled in Salt Lake Valley and founded Salt Lake City. The city was named after the salty inland lake that spreads out over the otherwise barren land. The settlers cultivated the desert land, growing crops and raising animals. Soon, the little settlement had grown into a bustling haven for Mormons seeking to escape religious persecution in the east.
Six years after the first pioneers came, the Mormon settlers began to build the city’s temple. It took them 39 years before the final stone of the temple’s exterior was set in place and then another year to finish designing and decorating the inside of the temple. The temple is a very sacred place; that is why the project meant a lot to the Mormons. Before they started to build the temple, they sent architects to Europe to study the great cathedrals of the Renaissance so that the temple and Temple Square would resemble their magnificence. The entire temple and Temple Square were hand built. The settlers mined the granite from a quarry 20 miles away and then carted it into the city using oxen, cattle, and wagons.
Unfortunately, we were not able to see the inside of the temple. When we were visiting the city, the temple was under renovation, as you can see from the photo. That is why we could only marvel at the temple from its exterior.
Besides the beautiful temple, there are many other interesting buildings to see. Sitting atop a hill, the grandiose State Capitol building overlooks the city of Salt Lake. It was built between 1912 and 1916 in the Neoclassical revival, Corinthian style.
Across the State Capital building, visitors can see the Old Salt Lake City Hall. Built in 1864-66, the building was the site of many historical conflicts between the Mormons, the non-Mormons, and the federal troops.
Another beautiful building which reminded me of a European castle was the Salt Lake City and County Building. The building has a 256-foot-tall clock tower and sits on a spacious green lawn surrounded by dozens of trees. An elegant fountain graces the front of the building.
Although the Mormon pioneers were the founders of Salt Lake City, the population and faiths of the city are now very diverse. On our walk, we enjoyed the rich architecture of various houses of worship. A few buildings worth mentioning are the Cathedral of the Madeleine, the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and the First Presbyterian Church.
Another unique building in Salt Lake City is the Beehive House, which was the official residence of Brigham Young, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), from 1855 till his death in 1877. On the top of this building, visitors can see a statue of a beehive. In the Mormon faith, beehives symbolize harmony and cooperation in the community.
The LDS Church has invested a lot of money into making Salt Lake City beautiful. All the streets are framed with beds of colorful flowers and other greenery. When we visited the city, all the flowers were in full bloom, so we could enjoy their full splendor.
Thank you for traveling with me across the U.S. for the past several semesters. I hope that you got some great ideas, and you are in the process of planning your own wonderful vacations where you will make a lot of great memories.
Even though there are many other places that I have visited, and I might share them with you in the future, for now, I think it is time to take a break. Until next time!
1. Utah State Capitol Building, Salt Lake City
2. Old Salt Lake City Hall, Salt Lake City
3. Courthouse, Salt Lake City
4. City and County Building, Salt Lake City
5. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Salt Lake City
6. Assembly Hall of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City
7. Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Salt Lake City
8. The Beehive, Salt Lake City
9. Renovation of the Salt Lake City Temple, Salt Lake City
10. Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City
11. First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City
12. Flower Beds, Salt Lake City