Browsing articles tagged with "Church History Buildings Archives - BYU Virtual Tours"

The Kearns Building

Oct 27, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Salt Lake City  //  No Comments
The Kearns Building was named after a former U.S. senator from Utah named Thomas Kearns (1862–1918). Kearns worked his way up from the low-labor position of “mucker” in the Park City mines, finally striking it rich in his Silver King mine. Active in politics, he ran a successful bid for the U.S. Senate. Read more >>
Deseret News Building

Deseret News Building

Oct 13, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Blog, Salt Lake City  //  No Comments

The Desert News is the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi. The Deseret News is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church first became involved in the newspaper business in June 1832, when W. W. Phelps published the Evening and Morning Star in Independence, Missouri. Read more >>

Salt Lake Theater

Oct 13, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Salt Lake City  //  No Comments

The Salt Lake Theatre, dedicated in 1862, saw a long and useful life. Drama and music made it the cultural hub of the city, promoting local talent as well as traveling shows and circuses. Whether host to the Nauvoo Brass Band or filled with classical actors, the theater was an important center for wholesome recreation in the western United States. President Brigham Young attended often during his lifetime, and his children were sometimes asked to act in productions. In the early years, tickets were purchased with commodities as well as cash; chickens or homemade items were accepted. All firearms were taken at the door and stored in the treasurer’s office to be retrieved after the performance. It seated audiences upward of 1,500.

In 1928 it was finally sold and torn down in favor of more lucrative enterprises. Visitors to Salt Lake City may catch a glimpse of the old playhouse at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum, which was built in a style patterned after the original theatre. The Pioneer Memorial Theatre on the University of Utah campus is also patterned after the Salt Lake Theatre.

Brigham Young Loved Theatre

Built then at the tremendous cost of $100,000, the theatre attracted the best actors and actresses of the day from around the world. Brigham Young was intimately involved in the theater, having given half of the proceeds for the construction himself. In addition, he oversaw some of the day-to day finances, donated props, often checked on the safety of the building, and even helped extinguish a small fire on stage caused by faulty lamp lights. Contrary to the thoughts of many religionists in his day, Brigham Young believed that the theatre was a blessing from God and that his people would be happier because of it. During the dedicatory service, he said: “Upon the stage of a theatre can be represented in character, evil and its consequences, good and its happy results and rewards; the weakness and the follies of man, the magnanimity of virtue and the greatness of truth. The stage can be made to aid the pulpit in impressing upon the minds of a community an enlightened sense of a virtuous life, also a proper horror of the enormity of sin and a just dread of its consequences. The path of sin with its thorns and pitfalls, its gins and snares can be revealed, and how to shun it.” It may also be for those reasons that he once observed, “If I were placed on a cannibal island and given a task of civilizing its people, I should straightway build a theatre.” On the southeast corner of the building where the Salt Lake Theatre used to stand is a plaque which now commemorates the once-magnificent theatre.


The property where the Salt Lake Theatre stood once belonged to Renolds and Thirza Styles Cahoon. Their son was given the name Mahonri Moriancumer (after the brother of Jared from the Book of Mormon) by the prophet Joseph Smith:

While residing in Kirtland, Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him [and his wife, Thirza]. One day when President Joseph Smith was passing his door he called the Prophet in and asked him to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of Mahonri Moriancumer. When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed, and turning to Elder Cahoon he said, the name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown [or revealed] it to me. Elder William F. Cahoon, who was standing near heard the Prophet make this statement to his Father; and this was the first time the name of the brother of Jared was known in the Church in this dispensation.

Mahonri Moriancumer Cahoon is buried in Murray City Cemetery. The story of his name is engraved on his headstone.

Additional Media

The Salt Lake Theatre stood on the northwest corner of 100 South and State Streets. Daughters of Utah Pioneers

The interior of the theatre was comfortable and spacious. Daughters of Utah Pioneers

These plush seats were Brigham Young’s theatre box seats. The Salt Lake Theatre has since been demolished, and the seats are now located in the Pioneer Memorial Museum. David M. Whitchurch

Actors and an actress from one of the theatre’s productions. Daughters of Utah Pioneers

An elaborate plaque is embedded in the building that now sits where the Salt Lake Theater stood. “The people must have amusement as well as religion,” said Brigham Young. This plaque is in the wall of a modern building that has replaced the Salt Lake Theatre and also features a quote from Thomas Moore. David M. Whitchurch

Large log beams were used to support the floor of the auditorium. The Tabernacle had similar basement construction. Daughters of Utah Pioneers

The Daughters of Utah Pioneers have preserved one of the theatre curtains in their museum. Daughters of Utah Pioneers

Pioneer Memorial Museum

Oct 6, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Salt Lake City  //  No Comments

The Museum has been recognized as one of the world’s largest collections of nineteenth century pioneer artifacts.  It contains Mormon memorabilia, period furniture, and photographs.

Additional Media

The Pioneer Memorial Museum is a fascinating place to explore Mormon Church Pioneer History David M. Whitchurch

There are hundreds of examples of beds, cribs, and chairs in the museum. Multiple floors house the innumerable donated and collected artifacts. The objects belonged to memorable Church figures as well as lesser known pioneers of the past. John P. Starrs.

This wagon was brought to Utah by Johnston’s Army in the late 1850s. The running gear is original, but the top part was burned, then later restored when placed in the museum. John P. Starrs.

Furniture from the home of President Heber C. Kimball.

The Pioneer Memorial Museum displays clothing typical of early days in Salt Lake City.

Carriages like this were common conveyances in Salt Lake City until the coming of the automobile. David M. Whitchurch.

The cane in the center with the knob at the end is believed to be the cane Willard Richards used to ward off guns at the Carthage Jail doorway when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed. David M. Whitchurch

Brigham Young’s uniquely bent cane is also on display in the Museum © by Intellectual Reserve Inc.
Construction commenced on October 17, 1947, one hundred years after the arrival of the first pioneers.

The architectural design is patterned after the historic Salt Lake Theatre that was built several blocks to the southeast at 100 South State Street in 1861–62.


A few of the items that can be found in the museum include:
  • Unique canes of various individuals, including Orson Hyde and Brigham Young
  • Willard Richard’s clock
  • Portraits of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young painted in Nauvoo
  • The main stage curtain from the old Salt Lake Theater
  • Photographs of numerous pioneers
  • Pioneer clothing (including the clothes worn by Orson Pratt the day he entered the Salt Lake Valley)
  • A musical organ transported across the plains by George Careless upon which he composed several hymns sung by the Latter-day Saints today
  • The medical instruments of Dr. John Bernhisel
  • The original wooden eagle from Brigham Young’s Eagle Gate
  • A replica of the golden spike from the celebration when the transcontinental railroads met and linked in Utah in 1869, ending the pioneer era
  • A wagon from Johnston’s Army
  • Hundreds of pioneer histories
  • Thousands of other relics, historic craft-works, and pioneer treasures from Utah’s earliest days
  • On the east side of the museum is a monument by Karl A. Quilter (2001), Lest We Forget, a tribute to those who made the trek and gave lives crossing the plains.


Sep 29, 2010   //   by BYU Journeys   //   Salt Lake City  //  No Comments

Preserved on main street is the original cast-iron façade of Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution, sometimes claimed to be the first department store in America (organized in March 1868). The store began as a response to price gouging in Salt Lake City. During the early pioneer days, basic commodities from the eastern United States were scarce and expensive because they had to be hauled by ox team from Missouri. Read more >>