Guess where I live?
Did you know the place in this picture took 40 years to build?
Were they just lazy, you may ask?
Well, that was kind of a rude question. Maybe they were just a little tired. After all, they were pushing handcarts for a couple of months and then had to build their homes and plant crops and …..
Okay, but 40 years? Nobody is that tired.
Again with the interruptions… But yeah, you’re right. There’s obviously more to it than that.
The picture above is actually taken from the back side, from across the street, on the roof of the Conference Center.
So, unfortunately you don’t get to see what else was built before the actual temple was built because the Temple is blocking them. Temple Square is a full block of tabernacles, visitor’s centers, statues/monuments and finally the temple itself. I suppose they were saving the best for last.
To the left of the temple,( in the first picture) is the old “Hotel Utah” where many presidents, other religious leaders and famous folk stopped in to rest their weary bones on their way to other places.
Hotel Utah, 100 years of history. From the Hotel Utah to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. By Ray Boren for the Deseret News. Published Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Exterior of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for a special section on Hotel Utah’s centennial Wednesday, May 18, 2011, above Salt Lake City, Utah. Picture by Tom Smart, Deseret News.
We visited this place, as a youth group, when I was @ 14. I remember sneaking off from the group to check out the Hotel Utah. Oh…my! It was the grandest thing I had ever seen. ( I feel like an old country woman saying that but truly, it is the only word that describes it so perfectly) The foyer was opened to the ceiling and it had the largest, most beautiful chandelier descending. The awe of it is still with me.
It’s now called the Joseph Smith Memorial building and the chandelier is gone. The ballroom, on the second floor, was turned into a chapel early on and is still used every Sunday for church. On the top floor is one of the hardest restaurants to get into. But what a view! I assume…since…. well… I’ve never been.
During Christmas this place is aglow with lights and Carolers and missionaries…don’t forget the missionaries. But don’t stress, they’re not aggressive door-to-door salesmen, they’re pretty polite and they are from all over the world. So if you want to practice your Cantonese, German, Indian, African, Russian, you can do it here.
Of Course the weather is usually in the single digits which is why, in this picture, the Visitor’s Center (see below) is so crowded.
So you didn’t think this article was going to be all about Temple Square did you? Nah, that was just the intro. After all, I am supposed to be giving you a tour, and this IS what Utah is known for so can you think of a better place to begin?
I have to tell you first why the Hotel Utah was the grandest thing I’ve ever seen…cause this is where I am from:
If you said ‘Ohio’ or ‘Iowa’ you should just go eat a rotten potato.
For clarification, and I feel the need for it, due to so many people not knowing where Idaho actually is. Idaho is in the Northwest, (not the Midwest – Bad Buzzfeed!) in between Oregon and Montana, Washington and Wyoming. Above Nevada and Utah while extending up to the Canadian border.
If you were born in Idaho, you probably fish. You either own horses or know someone who owns horses. You have a boat or your best friend has a boat and you waterski during the summer months. You camp. Swim in lakes that are so cold, your skin turns red, but you don’t care cause you’ve learned through the years that it’s just a matter of slow acclimation. You’ve probably hit a hot springs here and there as well. Idahoans also love their arts – ballet, plays, theatre and symphonies and we can be quite snobbish about it. But due to our low population, we don’t get enough of them.
When I was young, to my knowledge, we didn’t have anything ‘grand’. But even now, after having experienced ‘grand’ on a more regular basis, and since all I have is my child memory, nothing compares to the grandness of what once was, ‘Hotel Utah’.