In 1962, the original Salt Lake Temple annex was demolished. Until the new, much larger annex was completed, the North Temple Square Visitors Center functioned as “a temporary annex and temple entrance”.
Upon the completion of the new annex, the facility was dedicated in a private ceremony by Apostle Hugh B. Brown on March 21, 1966. It replaced the original annex of the temple which was built in 1892-93. The old annex’s exotic architectural style reminded patrons of the temple’s connection to ancient Judeo-Christian temple worship. The new facility however, showcased how the Church’s ability to incorporate modern architectural and technological advances could make the temple more accessible and efficient for eligible Latter-day Saints.
The purpose of the temple annex is to serve as “a transitory space... a place that is both part of and apart from the temple.” It is a place where people symbolically leave their worldly preoccupations behind and prepare to participate in sacred rituals in which they will make promises with God. Allowing for this transition, the new annex had a laundry department, storage rooms, waiting rooms, a cafeteria, offices, and a high-tech control room.
Patrons would enter the temple complex through doors cut out from the outer wall of Temple Square, shortening the distance people needed to walk. This made it easier for patrons to get inside the temple, especially during bad weather. Entering into the annex, worshipers would have their recommends checked and drop their bags down a chute, dropping their luggage into a room near the changing area. Patrons would then enter the chapel which seated four hundred and featured a large mural of Jesus Christ’s Ascension. After instruction in the chapel, patrons headed downstairs to change and prepare for temple ordinance work. The dressing rooms, one for the men on the right and another for the women on the left, had many rows of changing booths. Each booth contained several lockers where patrons could safely store their belongings. Once changed into clean white clothing patrons entered the temple proper.
While construction on the annex was completed on March 1966, there were several later additions including a new lobby, entrance, waiting rooms, and another chapel. This annex was used for nearly sixty years by members of the Church of Jesus Christ. As part of the Salt Lake Temple’s 2020 remodeling, the annex is slated to be demolished and another annex will be built in its place.