Filed Under Religion

Salt Lake Temple Original Annex

The Salt Lake Temple’s original annex was a place of transition between the temple and the outside world.

Latter-day Saint Church architects, learning through the experience of building the Endowment House and temples in St. George (1877) and Logan (1884), Utah, realized the necessity of having an annex for the Salt Lake Temple. The purpose of a temple annex is to serve as “a transitory space... a place that is both part of and apart from the temple.” While the temple has had several annexes since the demolition of the original annex in the 1960’s, each has been a place where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had their recommends checked, changed clothes, waited for temple ceremonies to begin, and entered the temple through a well-lit underground passageway.

While most worshipers entered the temple through the original annex, people attending marriages would come in through the temple’s large wooden doors on the east. Waiting areas for wedding parties were inside the temple. Church leaders who met in the temple to make decisions and administrate the Church, would normally enter through the west doors and ascend to the large priesthood assembly room, to council rooms, or to offices.

The annex’s main assembly room seated 300 patrons and was richly furnished. Stained glass windows imported from the world renown Tiffany Glass Company in NYC and ornate Corinthian columns added to the room’s elegance. A large reproduction of Mihály Munkácsy’s painting, "Christ before Pilate" reminded patrons of the idea that they were about to enter “The House of the Lord.”

The annex was designed by the son of Brigham Young, Don Carlos Young. Construction began in 1892 and was completed a year later, just one day before the dedication of the temple. Built in an Byzantinian style out of bright oolite limestone blocks, the annex was just as eclectic as the temple.

During renovations in 1937, wings were built on either side of the original structure and a new entrance was created. At the same time, some ornamental features were removed. In the early 1950’s a small addition was made to the north side of the entrance.

By the early 1960’s more space was needed to accommodate temple patrons. The original annex was demolished and a new, much larger annex was built in its place.

Images

The Original Annex in front of the Salt Lake Temple.
The Original Annex in front of the Salt Lake Temple. This photograph shows the annex sometime before the 1937 renovation. The north side of the Salt Lake Temple can be seen behind the annex. Source: Salt Lake Temple Annex. BYU Lee Library L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Call #: Mss P24 Box 5 Folder 3 . 489 MSS P 24 B5 F3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mormon_Temple_Annex_Salt_Lake..jpg
Inside the Original Annex
Inside the Original Annex The comfortable annex assembly room seated up to 300 people while they waited to enter the temple. Source: PLATE 8.—Assembly Room in the Temple Annex. Talmage , James E. The House of the Lord. 1912. Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Accessed on Gutenberg Press.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/45149/45149-h/45149-h.htm#chap06fn1
Annex in 1893.
Annex in 1893. This 3-D model shows how the annex looked at the time it was dedicated in 1893. Source: "3-D model of the Annex in 1950.” Olson, Brian. “Of Tunnels and Annexes 2020.” Unpublished essay. Used by permission of the author.
Creator: Brian Olson.
Annex after a 1937 Renovation
Annex after a 1937 Renovation In the 1937 renovation the roofs’ finials were removed, an underground expansion was made, and a new entrance was created. Source: “3-D model of the Annex in 1937.” Olson, Brian. “Of Tunnels and Annexes 2020.” Unpublished essay. Used by permission of the author. Creator: Brian Olson.
Annex in 1950
Annex in 1950 View of the annex circa 1950. New additions were added on the north side of the entrance (the new area is indicated by its gray roof). Source: “3-D model of the Annex in 1950.” Olson, Brian. “Of Tunnels and Annexes 2020.” Unpublished essay. Used by permission of the author. Creator: Brian Olson.

Location

Metadata

Ryan J. Hallstrom, Brigham Young University, “Salt Lake Temple Original Annex,” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/424.