Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Build Your Very Own Salt Lake City, ca. 1941

Build Your Very Own Salt Lake City, ca. 1941

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 13, 2010

Enlarge the patterns, then snip, snip, snip, fit slot A into slit B, maybe add a little tape, and build your own model of the LDS buildings in Salt Lake City as they appeared — more or less — in 1941.

We offer you the Temple, the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, and assorted smaller monuments and buildings on Temple Square; there’s Primary Children’s Hospital, and a couple of the buildings of LDS University that stood then where today’s Relief Society Building and the gardens of the Church Office Building now stand; add Eagle Gate, the Beehive House, the Lion House, and the old Church Administration Building; even build the Social Hall, the Salt Lake Theater and the Tithing Office (although they were long gone in 1941); … and as a bonus, hold your own (totally out-of-scale) MIA Dance Festival on the old Saltair dance floor, with the roller coaster as a backdrop!

If you don’t recognize everything, like the Oriental fantasy that is the old Temple Annex, let’s talk. Maybe I can post photos of the unfamiliar buildings.

Just the thing to occupy your fingers while you’re sitting in some boring office meeting this week.








  1. Cool. Totally doing this next General Conference. Break out the colored pencils and cardstock!

    Comment by ESO — January 13, 2010 @ 6:56 am

  2. cute!!!

    Comment by Manati — January 13, 2010 @ 8:07 am

  3. Those are fun! I’ll have to print them out for my kids.

    Comment by Researcher — January 13, 2010 @ 8:43 am

  4. Oooh, and I get to color too! I wonder if my boss will notice if I bring crayons to the boring office meeting?

    Comment by Clark — January 13, 2010 @ 8:54 am

  5. Awesome. Ardis: Are you awarding get-out-of-Sunday-School passes to the person who does the best reconstruction?

    (The Brigham Young & Smith Memorial Bldgs. I’ve never heard of/seen them. They’re not still around, I presume.)

    Comment by Hunter — January 13, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  6. I wonder why Primary Children’s Hospital looks boarded up.

    Comment by Steve G. — January 13, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  7. I expect pictures from somebody who actually does build some of these models — or who has their children do so. I’ll post ’em if you’ll send ’em!

    Steve, I can’t figure out that part of the drawing, either. This version of the hospital would have been the old home across the street (north) from the Temple, but even if there had been, say, an old, unused garage as part of the complex, you would think they would have done a better job of boarding it up. I don’t know what that represents.

    Hunter, yup, the Young and Smith buildings are long gone. Dating to the turn of the 20th century, they were part of the University complex, and stood on the block immediately east of the Temple. The University buildings were arranged in a semi-circle facing the Temple, and stood behind the Hotel Utah up to North Temple. The Smith building was the home of the Genealogical Society/Family History Library for a while (’60s at least; I don’t know how much earlier), and the Young building was, I think, the home of the church magazines and church auxiliaries at some point (one of the University buildings definitely was; I think it was the Young building, but I may be mistaken). The last of them were demolished when space was cleared on that block to build the Relief Society Building and the Church Office tower.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 13, 2010 @ 9:16 am

  8. This is sooooo cool! I love the old annex. But this has even more goodies…like the greenhouse! Rock. On.

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 13, 2010 @ 9:40 am

  9. D’ja notice that the roof of the Tabernacle even has the old Salt-Lake-airport-thataway sign painted on top (except it seems to be missing the pointed end of the arrow)?

    And could that be the primitive basis of the airplanes-can’t-find-the-airport-if-the-angel-on-the-[fill in the blank]-temple-isn’t-lit urban legend? :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 13, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  10. Ardis, you delight me once again. Thanks.

    Comment by Jami — January 13, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  11. Oh I love this so much. I really want to see photos of all these places circa ’41, even the ones I know.

    What a great bit of ephemera. This may be my favorite post, yet. I loved the Eagle Gate when I was little. Couldn’t get enough of it. When it was damaged (in 1960, had to look the date up), I was really upset! I hated the couple of years there was no gate, and didn’t like the fact that the replacement eagle wasn’t EXACTLY the same as the original (they made it bigger)! Hmph!

    I haven’t visited the old eagle in my recent trips back to SLC. I’ll have to stop in and say hello next time I’m home.

    Comment by Mina — January 13, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  12. Ardis, this is a treat.

    What were the green house and the gold house? Old maps and photos would really tie this all together for me, if you know where some live.

    Comment by Ben Pratt — January 13, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  13. The greenhouse was, well, a greenhouse where seedlings were raised for transplantation into the Temple Square gardens. What looks like “gold house” is really “gate house” — I’m assuming it’s where the groundskeeper/gatekeeper/night watchman had his quarters, but I don’t know.

    I’ll see what I can find on the gate house. I do have pictures of some of these buildings, not necessarily circa 1941.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 13, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  14. Wonderful, thanks!

    Comment by Ben Pratt — January 13, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  15. Wow. These could conceal/display waaaaaay more Easter eggs than the scarce cardboard scenery that came with my nephew’s egg coloring kit last Easter.

    Comment by Moniker Challenged — January 13, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  16. I love these images! As for the seemingly boarded up section of the Primary Children’s Hospital, don’t you suppose that is a wheelchair ramp on the back of the building?

    Comment by blueagleranch — January 13, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

  17. I think the “boards” are some type of ramped structure. It looks like a shallow ramp up and a steeper ramp down. What purpose it served I have no idea.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — January 13, 2010 @ 8:16 pm

  18. This is just tangentially related, but those statues of Hyrum and Joseph that are in the first picture – I’ve heard that many years ago they stood in the recessed alcoves of the temple (the spots where so many newlyweds like to pose.)
    Do we have any written or visual verification for that?

    Comment by Reed Russell — January 13, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

  19. I checked with Randy Dixon, who knows more about old-time downtown Salt Lake than even the people who BUILT old-time downtown Salt Lake, about the gatehouse. He says it was a small adobe building just inside the east gate. It was built in the 1880s, possibly as a construction office for the Temple architect, but in the 20th century was used as I speculated, by the groundskeeper/caretaker/pre-Information Bureau guide.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 14, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  20. Reed, I’ve long heard that, too, and accepted it, but I don’t know that I’ve seen any photographic or documentary evidence. I’ll poke around on that one, too.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 14, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  21. I love this project. That’s a wild-looking roller coaster.

    Comment by Justin — January 14, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  22. Ardis, do you know if Ramona Sullivan (name on the bottom of several pages) is the same person as President Hinckley’s younger sister?

    Comment by Justin — January 14, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

  23. Gosh, Justin, I completely missed that connection! I don’t know anything about *this* Ramona, but 1941 would have been the right age for a sister of Pres. Hinckley to be starting to take an active role.

    Another entry on my to-do list …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 14, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

  24. They used to sell oil that was consecrated in the temple (in both small and large bottles) at the gatehouse.

    It was also my understanding that the greenhouse was also used to provide living decor for the garden room.

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 15, 2010 @ 10:18 am

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