Capitol Hill District

Utah, Salt Lake City Guide (A): Capitol Hill District

Perhaps no city in America sees religion and politics mingled in such near proximity as Salt Lake City. Its place as both the state capitol of Utah and the center of the Mormon Church make it a unique city in that sense, and this tour will explore a group of site braiding these themes together from separate threads.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Capitol Hill District
Guide Location: USA » Salt Lake City
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Kearns Mansion   First Presbyterian Church   Cathedral of the Madeleine   Ottinger Hall   Memory Grove Park   Council Hall   Utah State Capitol   Pioneer Memorial Museum  
Author: Jim Reynoldson
Author Bio: Jim Reynoldson is an avid traveler and writer who grew up in Oregon. He enjoys hiking, camping, and sightseeing throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Kearns Mansion

1) Kearns Mansion

This beautiful mansion sits along East South Temple Street – just a few blocks east of Temple Square. Built in 1902 by the successful silver-mining tycoon Thomas Kearns, the mansion hosted many high-society events of the era, as well as many famous dignitaries including Teddy Roosevelt. The mansion was donated to the state in 1937 and has served as the official Utah Governor’s mansion off and on throughout the years since. Constructed from limestone, the building featured some of the most...
First Presbyterian Church

2) First Presbyterian Church

One of the three oldest religious structures in Salt Lake City is, surprisingly, not Mormon. The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1903 and restored for its centennial celebration in 2003. This Gothic Revival cathedral was designed by architect Walter Ware, modeled after the Carlisle Cathedral in England, and constructed from red sandstone quarried from nearby Red Butte Canyon. Three massive, ornate stained-glass windows grace the cathedral – one depicting the “Empty Tomb”, another...
Cathedral of the Madeleine

3) Cathedral of the Madeleine

This Romanesque Catholic cathedral with Gothic interior sits just a few blocks east from the center of the Mormon faith in downtown Salt Lake City. Built from Utah sandstone, construction began in 1900 and was completed in 1909, at a cost of $344,000 – dedicated that year by Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore. Catholics are the largest minority faith in the city, and this ornate cathedral serves as its centerpiece. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the cathedral was...
Image by Adrian Comollo under Creative Commons License.
Ottinger Hall

4) Ottinger Hall

This building sits just south of the main entrance to Memory Grove Park, and is on the National Registry of Historic places. The hall was constructed in 1900 by the Volunteer Firemen’s Association and named after its leader, George M. Ottinger. Originally used as a social gathering place for fire fighters of the era, the hall is today used for community events and host of the YouthCity program – which provides fun activities like camps, sports leagues, and classes in art and dance for kids...
Image by Bobshaw25 under Creative Commons License.
Memory Grove Park

5) Memory Grove Park

Originally designated as a city park in 1902, this green space occupies a peaceful spot in City Creek Canyon – tucked away in a nearly hidden pocket just down the hill from the Utah State Capitol building. Gardens, lawns, water features, and beautiful monuments provide a perfect setting for reflection – as the park began a theme honoring military veterans starting in the 1920’s. Trails throughout the park are available for walking, running, or biking – including a zigzag of trails...
Council Hall

6) Council Hall

Currently sitting directly across from the Utah State Capitol building, the Greek revival-style Council Hall building was originally constructed in 1866 on East 1st Street, and then dismantled in 1961 to be moved to its new location. Serving as City Hall between 1866 and 1894, the building was the location of several volatile political events – most of which stemmed from the power struggle between the federal and state governments. Now peacefully retired from the conflict and strife of its...
Utah State Capitol

7) Utah State Capitol

Perched on a hilltop above downtown, this majestic state capital building was designed by Utah architect Richard K.A. Kletting and constructed in 1916. A classically styled building inspired by Greek and Corinthian design, the Utah State Capitol is 404 feet long and 285 feet high at the top of the dome, and made of quartz monzonite quarried from nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon. The 40-acre state capitol grounds also include a number of monuments honoring Vietnam veterans, the Mormon Battalion,...
Pioneer Memorial Museum

8) Pioneer Memorial Museum

This museum – located next to the Utah State Capitol – is run by the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Said to house the “world’s largest collection of artifacts on one particular subject”, the museum covers Utah Pioneer history spanning from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Mormon migration to Utah. Four floors, plus a carriage house, offer 38 themed rooms of museum artifacts and exhibits – including the “Medical Room”, “Brigham Young’s Wagon”, and the “Clothing...