Leaving Spokane, we fly to Salt Lake City for a couple of days. Steve was here when he was 14, passing through on a Greyhound bus traveling from Northern California to Oklahoma, and all I remember is driving through Salt Lake City on I-15 in 2002, hardcore road-tripping back to Illinois for our niece’s graduation.
After a slight flight delay and a rental car mix-up, we arrive at our Springhill Suites hotel in downtown at 2:30 pm Mountain Time for a few days of sight seeing. Some food and then laundry. The views of the mountains are smoky today. Fires in Nevada is what we are told. They are in an 8 year drought here. With the humidity 11% today, we are dry too!
Sunday morning, we walk to another hotel where we are to join a City Tour bus. The walk up 200 West provides a feel for the tremendous growth that is going on in this city, similar to other growth-friendly cities in America. The influx of Californians has created a construction boom, and the homeless are here too. Sundays are quiet – not much open.
The first stop on the tour is at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temple Square. The church prefers that use the entire name, and that we refer to the members as Latter Day Saints rather than the more general moniker “Mormon.” We pass the main administration building on our way to the square.
The buildings in the Temple Square complex are being renovated and rebuilt as part of a 5 year construction plan. Fortunately, it is Sunday and we are able to get into the Temple Grounds to see the Assembly Church and to see the [Mormon] Tabernacle Choir perform live in the Tabernacle. The choir’s performance is beautiful music to our ears and fills our hearts. The concert was so meaningful on this day – September 11th. You can watch it on YouTube.
The Tabernacle Choir is known for having the World’s Longest Continuing Network Broadcast. We hear number 4,852 of Music & The Spoken Word.
There are sculptures, the Assembly Hall and beautiful gardens on the Temple Square.
After we depart Temple Square, the tour guide takes us past the University of Utah stadium and campus, Brigham Young’s original mansion (and other buildings I wasn’t able to get a photo) where he lived near the Temple with his many, many wives…..
There are also quite a few mansions in Salt Lake City from the wealthy who invested in mining – copper and otherwise. This city of wealth.
Two more stops on the tour with quite a bit of history of the state/city. Brigham Young came through Emigration Canyon to The Salt Lake City valley and said “This is the right place.” He had travelled with the thousands of Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints followers from Nauvoo, Illinois. They arrived on July 24, 1847 and settled the area with many more followers who came by boat, wagon train and walking.
With this amazing story to re-tell and celebrate, the “This is the Place” Monument was establish on July 24, 1947 – 100 years later. The entire “This is the Place Heritage Park” is worth a visit to see the amazing monument, sculptures and hear the story in the Pioneer Center and re-created village. I took so many picture that can’t even do justice. Here’s a couple. Walking around and reading about the amazing people who made the history of this religion and state is humbling.
We actually drive back here in the afternoon to take more pictures. There is a sculpture for The Pony Express riders. There is also a sculpture/memorial to the Mormon Battalion (500 men) who trudged 2300 miles to serve in the army during the Mexican-American war. Incredible stories! This history is worth reading more about than what we can see on the plaques on the statues!
Inside the Pioneer (visitors’) Center, a couple of movies and more about the artist and construction of the “This is the Place” Monument dedicated in 1947 and then the sesquicentennial celebration in 1997. Again, very moving and worth seeing.
This blog post is going on and on….so let me finish up with the last stop, The State of Utah Capitol Building. It was the largest Capitol Building in the USA until Austin, Texas built their capitol dome larger. The Utah Capitol Building is impressive, sitting high up over the city. Very quiet on a Sunday so we get some great views inside and out.
A tram that runs through the city, compliments of the 2002 Winter Olympics held here. The tour took us by the apartments that were used by the Olympians and then became university housing. Good plan.
And there was Fort Douglas built right before the civil war. There is a cemetery, several buildings still being used by the military and officer housing that is now being used by the university.
Other than City Creek Mall which wasn’t open on Sunday, we feel we’ve done a lot of the city. Maybe some museums Monday or Tuesday…..stay tuned.
Picture of the day – proving there are other churches in Salt Lake City (like a Greek Orthodox)!