SALT LAKE CITY — Temple Square already looks vastly different than it did nine months ago when crews began the massive Salt Lake Temple renovation project.
Gone are the majority of temple add-ons constructed in the 1960s, such as the north side entrance, chapel and sealing room addition, and nearly all objects that were located in the space north and south of the temple. Other buildings, such as the South Visitors’ Center, were demolished in January.
There’s also a large pit surrounding the historic structure after crews created a retaining wall around it as they work to strengthen the temple’s foundation.
“The next stage is probably the hardest, where we work on strengthening the foundation by adding to the foundation,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a video released by the church Sunday.
The story of the temple’s foundation
While crews work on shoring up the building for seismic activity, they also get an up-close view of the temple’s foundation. It’s the first time a majority of the foundation has been visible since additions were constructed more than 50 years ago.
The history of that foundation is about as unique as the temple’s entire construction story — a structure that took 40 years to complete after its 1853 groundbreaking ceremony.
The location of the temple itself was set aside on July 28, 1847, just four days after pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley. The groundbreaking happened in 1853 with the cornerstones laid on April 6, 1853, as a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ spring general conference.
A recap of the ceremony was recorded in an edition of the Deseret News published 10 days later. The ceremony included talks, prayers and music as the