Big City Tales

Everything is Spic’n’Span in Salt Lake City | April 6, 2018

Without a doubt, the city that hails itself as ‘The Crossroads of the West’ is one of the cleanest places on the planet. From its pristine parks to spotless streets, everything is spic’n’span in Salt Lake City, Utah and the phrase ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ takes on added meaning in the world headquarters of the Mormon church.

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Temple Square

When Brigham Young and followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the 1847, there were no permanent settlements in the area. That quickly changed. After a few days of scouting locations, Young had declared the spot where the Salt Lake Temple would be built and ultimately become the showcase centerpiece of a broader Temple Square area.

Encompassing a total of 10 acres, Temple Square also includes the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, the Seagull Monument, and two visitors` centers. The  complex was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1964 and is the most popular tourist attraction in all of Utah.

Temple Square marks the geographical center of Salt Lake City and was used as the prime reference point when the rest of the city was laid out in a grid pattern around it. Along with the grid layout, a significant amount of land was designated for garden plots and Young was insistent on wide streets that could accommodate a team of horses being able to easily turn while pulling a wagon.

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Salt Lake Temple

The Salt Lake Temple ended up taking 40 years to build and is the largest Mormon temple in terms of floor area. As it is considered to be the sacred house of God, there are no public tours offered and its use is limited to special ceremonies and meetings conducted by high-ranking church officials. The grounds, however, are open to all and authorized photos of the interior were released in 1912 and 1938 to give the faithful a glimpse at the temple’s glory.

The temple’s exterior features many symbolic elements that hold great meaning for Mormons. For example, the golden angel statue atop the church is meant to signify the Second Coming of Christ who plays a horn to announce the arrival. There are also many carvings of suns, moons and stars that represent the celestial kingdom, terrestrial kingdom and telestial kingdom referred to in the Mormon doctrine pertaining to the three degrees of glory.

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Salt Lake Tabernacle

For over 100 years the Salt Lake Tabernacle (also known as Mormon Tabernacle) was the main gathering place for weekly Mormon services and the semi-annual general conference. The ever-growing numbers of church goers and conference attendees resulted in the construction of new, larger facilities to accommodate the masses. Today, the building is the home to the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and one of the world’s largest pipe organs.

The tabernacle is renowned for its incredible acoustics wherein visitors can literally hear a pin drop at a distance of 170 feet away (from the pulpit to the back of the seating hall). The unique turtle-shaped roof was also designed with no interior pillars or posts to obstruct the view for the audience, which was a specific request of Brigham Young.

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Utah State Capitol

Although it’s not a Mormon-specific building, the Utah State Capitol shines as bright and lovely as the structures that occupy Temple Square, which are also made of the same Utah granite mined from the Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The Capitol’s Neoclassical/Corinthian style is reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and evokes a strong sense of order and awe. 52 columns surround the front, east and west sides and provide ample support for the 250 foot high central dome. The interior features five floors that are elaborately decorated with marble floors and numerous paintings and sculptures that tell the history of Utah and pay tribute to its outstanding citizens.

Situated on a 40-acre plot of land at the top of Capitol Hill, the grounds of the Capitol Complex include memorials and monuments, as well as plants native to Utah. The complex overlooks downtown Salt Lake City and also offers good views of the Salt Lake Valley and municipalities located along the Wasatch mountain range.

Clean Cut City

With its Mormon origins, neat and tidy landmarks, and fresh mountain air Salt Lake City is the essence of a clean cut city just waiting to be breathed in and enjoyed.

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