News / Utah / Local

5 SLC landmarks hidden in plain sight

By Stephanie Grimes | Posted - Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:57pm



SALT LAKE CITY — Whether you're in town for LDS General Conference or are just looking for something new to appreciate in Salt Lake City this weekend, here are five historical places in Downtown Salt Lake City to visit.

The Devereaux Mansion

The Devereaux Mansion was Utah's first mansion. Completed in 1857, it was first the home of William Staines, an English-born horticulturist and convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

Parts of the house date back to 1855, less than a decade after the first Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Extensive remodeling was done and additions were made in the 1870s, and the house was used to greet guests including presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes. As the Salt Lake Valley grew into a commercial and industrial area with the arrival of the railroad, the mansion seemed forgotten for years.

The mansion was purchased in 1978 by the Utah State Legislature for future renovations. The state entered into an agreement with the Triad Center in 1981 for the area's maintenance. When LDS Church purchased the Triad Center in 2005, it also acquired the Devereaux Mansion.

The mansion sits to the southwest of the Triad Center, on North Temple between 300 West and 400 West.

The Great Salt Lake Base and Meridian

The Great Salt Lake Base and Meridian was placed at the beginning of the original survey of "Great Salt Lake City" on Aug. 3, 1847, by Orson Pratt and Henry G. Sherwood.

The city streets were named and numbered from that point, and the location served as the initial point of public land surveys in Utah.

A stone monument still stands at the location, an astronomical point with a stone base located at the southeast corner of Temple Square. The point was used to obtain the correct time until Dec. 30, 1897.

Eagle Gate Monument

The Eagle Gate monument is an arch situated at the intersection of State Street and South Temple, adjacent to Temple Square.

The monument was built in 1859 to mark the entrance to both Brigham Young's farmland and City Creek Canyon. The monument has been altered four times, as State Street widened and became a public thoroughfare. It became a toll-free accessway in 1882.

The gate was originally topped with a wooden eagle, which was eventually replaced by a 4,000-pound bronze eagle that remains there today. The eagle's wing span is 20 feet.

The original wooden eagle, carved by Ralph Ramsay, is on display at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum at 300 N. Main Street.

Cathedral of the Madeleine

The Cathedral of the Madeleine is a Roman Catholic church located at 331 E. South Temple, a few blocks east of Temple Square. It is the only cathedral in the U.S. under the patronage of St. Mary Magdalene.

The cathedral was built between 1900 and 1909 on property purchased in 1890 for $35,000. The cost of building the cathedral itself was $344,000.

The exterior of the cathedral is largely the same today as it was a century ago, with the exceptions being the addition of a tympanum over the main doors and the double flight of steps leading to the main entrance.

The cathedral's stained-glass windows portray classic Catholic themes including the Annunciation, Visitation and Nativity. The cathedrals 14 Stations of the Cross were painted in 1992 and 1993 by Utah artist Roger Wilson.

More information about the cathedral can be found here.

Monuments on Temple Square

Temple Square is home to multiple monuments and landmarks, beyond the Salt Temple.

The Salt Lake Assembly Hall sits in the southwest corner of Temple Square. It was completed in 1880 with leftover granite stone from the building of the temple and is an open place of worship.

In front of the assembly hall sits the Seagull Monument, which commemorates what some members of the LDS church call the Miracle of the Gulls. Tradition says crickets descended on farms in the foothills east of the valley in 1848, consuming entire fields of crops. According to accounts, the harvest was saved by a flock of seagulls that ate the crickets.

The Christus is located in the North Visitors' Center. It is a replica of the statue of Jesus Christ sculpted by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.

Across the street from Temple Square, the Conference Center roof is covered in gardens meant to be symbolic of the pioneers' entry into the Salt Lake Valley.

What is your favorite Salt Lake City landmark? Tell us on the comment boards.

Related Stories

KSL Weather Forecast

Updated: Saturday May 26, 2018 10:25 pm