On a recent trip to Salt Lake City I had the opportunity to visit Temple Square a couple of times, it is one of our favorite things to do. I never grow tired of taking pictures of the temple, the beautiful flowers in temple square and the buildings around. It seems one can hardly take a bad picture because it is so picturesque! Enjoy!!
North Visitors Center
Christus (also known as Christus Consolator) is a 19th-century Carrara marble statue of the resurrected Jesus by Bertel Thorvaldsen. Since its creation, the statue has been located in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark. The statue of Jesus was completed in 1821. The Christus was not well known outside of Denmark until 1896, when an American textbook writer wrote that the statue was “considered the most perfect statue of Christ in the world.” The statue is 3.2 metres (10.5 feet) high. In the 20th century, images and replicas of the statue were adopted by the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to emphasize the centrality of Jesus Christ in church teachings.
In the 1950s, LDS Church leader Stephen L Richards purchased an 3.4-metre (11-foot) replica of the Christus and presented it to Church President David O. McKay. In 1966, the statue was placed in the church’s Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Tabernacle, in Temple Square, was built between 1864 and 1867. The roof was constructed in an Ithiel Town lattice-truss arch system that is held together by dowels and wedges. The building has a sandstone foundation, and the dome is supported by forty-four sandstone piers. The overall seating capacity of the building is 7000, which includes the choir area and gallery (balcony).
Henry Grow, an LDS civil engineer oversaw the initial construction of the Tabernacle, the domed roof being the most innovative portion of the building. Brigham Young, President of the LDS Church at the time, wanted the Tabernacle roof constructed in an elongated dome shape. When Young asked Grow how large a roof he could construct using the style of lattice that he had used on the Remington bridge, Grow replied that it could be “100 feet wide and as long as is wanted.” Eventually, Grow engineered the Tabernacle roof to be 150 feet across and 250 feet long. Skeptics insisted that when the interior scaffolding was removed, the whole roof would collapse. The roof structure was nine feet thick, formed by a “Remington lattice truss” of timbers pinned together with wooden pegs. Green rawhide was wrapped around the timbers so that when the rawhide dried it tightened its grip on the pegs. When the roof’s structural work was completed, sheeting was applied on the roof, which was then covered with shingles. The interior was lathed and then plastered – the hair of cattle being mixed with the plaster to give it strength.
Construction of the Tabernacle began on July 26, 1864, but construction of the roof did not begin until 1865 when all 44 supporting sandstone piers designed by William H. Folsom were in place. Grow rapidly built the roof structure from the center out, but encountered difficulty engineering the semicircular ends of the roof. This difficulty dragged structural work on the roof into fall of 1866 even as other parts of the roof were being shingled. However, Grow finished and shingled the entire roof by the spring of 1867, before the interior of the building was finished. The Tabernacle was first used for the October 1867 conference. The roof has lasted for over a century without any structural problems, though the shingles were replaced with aluminum in 1947.
The structure was an architectural wonder in its day, prompting a writer for Scientific American to comment on “the mechanical difficulties of attending the construction of so ponderous a roof.”
Some visitors around the beginning of the 20th century criticized it as “a prodigious tortoise that has lost its way” or “the Church of the Holy Turtle,” but Frank Lloyd Wright dubbed the tabernacle “one of the architectural masterpieces of the country and perhaps the world.”
Inside the tabernacle. I remember seeing a very old photo of the tabernacle all decked out in patriotic colors, I was excited to see it decked out patriotically in 2012.
Transom above door of the tabernacle.
The beautiful stained glass windows.
And of course the world famous Tabernacle organ.
The organ in the Tabernacle has the organ case positioned at the west end above the choir seats, and is the focal point of the Tabernacle’s interior. The original organ was made by Joseph H. Ridges in 1867 and contained 700 pipes. The organ has been rebuilt several times with the total pipe count being 11,623, making the Tabernacle organ one of the largest pipe organs in the world. The current organ is the masterwork of G. Donald Harrison of the Aeolian-Skinner organ company, and was completed in 1948. The organ was renovated and restored in 1989 with a few minor changes and additions. Interestingly, the largest 32′ display pipes in the façade are made of wood and were constructed in the same manner as the balcony columns.
Close by is the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which used to be the Hotel Utah.
Lions on the Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Looking off at the Conference Center.
Church Office Building.
South LDS Visitors Center, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah.