Visit Temple Square to experience Mormon culture and pioneer heritage with guided tours featuring historic sites, exhibits, gardens, and the largest genealogy library of its kind in the world.
Temple Square & Genealogy
Historic Temple Square, (801) 240-2534, is bounded by North, West and South Temple streets. Salt Lake City was laid out with Temple Square as its heart. The 10-acre area contains the famed Salt Lake Temple built between 1853 and 1893 and the Salt Lake Tabernacle housing the huge pipe organ, which accompanies the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The public is invited to the Choir's free weekly Sunday television and radio broadcast in the Tabernacle at 9:30 a.m. (audience must be seated by 9:15), the choir's rehearsal every Thurs. at 8 p.m., and the organ recital at noon Mon.- Sat. and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Temple Square has two visitor centers and offers complimentary tours daily. A courtesy van scheduled each half hour between 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. travels from the Salt Lake International Airport to Temple Square for a guided tour, then returns. The van trip and tour require a minimum of 90 minutes between connecting flights, www.templesquarehospitality.com. West of Temple Square is the Museum of Church History and Art, (801) 240-3310, which exhibits art and relics related to the Mormon church from the mid-1800's to the present.
Immediately south of the Museum, is the Family History Library, (801) 240-6536, housing one of the largest collections of genealogical records in the world. Imagine walking into The Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You have the intention of spending 15 minutes. 5 hours go by in what seemed the blink of an eye, and it's no wonder. The Family History Library is the largest library of its kind in the world. With more than 2 billion names of the deceased, most of whom were born before 1930, if you search back 10 or 12 generations, you begin to get the feeling, "We really are all related!" With an average of 1,500 visitors daily, it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Salt Lake City. The Family History Library is staffed with more than 100 full-time and part-time professional staff and 700 well-trained volunteers to assist visitors with their search. The staff is well-known for its accommodating, friendly, and helpful demeanor. The library, founded in 1894, was originally intended to gather genealogical records and to assist members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with their family history and genealogical research. The present Family History Library opened on October 23, 1985 and is open to the public at no charge. Most casual visitors come with names of one or two ancestors and begin their search on the database via one of their 84 patron computers. Also available are 2 1/2 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records, 727,000 microfiche, 356,000 books, serials and additional formats, 4,500 periodicals, and 3,725 electronic resources. The library contains genealogical records from North America, Latin America, the British Isles, Africa, Asia, and Australia. In addition, the library continues its work on expanding its records with more than 200 cameras around the world (45 countries) currently digitizing records. To date, the library's records have been filmed in over 110 countries, territories, and possessions. The Family History Library's normal hours of operation are Mondays, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM,Tuesdays through Saturdays, 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and closed on Sundays.
Just east of Temple Square is a plaza and Brigham Young Monument, a larger-than-life statue of the colonizing church leader. It was erected in 1897.
Across the plaza at South Temple Street, The Joseph Smith Memorial Building, (801) 240-1266, is a community center operated by the LDS Church. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building was formerly the Hotel Utah and its lobby has been elegantly restored with a stained glass ceiling and intricate moldings. Tours are offered daily, as well as some films. The building also has a chapel, three restaurants, and the Family Search Center, a public facility introducing visitors to genealogical research.
The Beehive House, (801) 240-2681, east of Temple Square on South Temple, and the Lion House next door are the homes of Mormon Church president Brigham Young and his large family. Tours are offered of the antiques-filled buildings. Lunch and dinner are served at the Lion House.