6. LDS Tabernacle

Temple Square

The Tabernacle’s elliptical dome rests on 44 sandstone columns surrounding the building. These columns are composed mostly of reddish-brown Nugget Sandstone with some light gray to lavender, occasionally pebbly, stone from the Gartra Grit Member of the Ankareh Formation.

Both stones were quarried in Red Butte Canyon where the Nugget Sandstone overlies the Late Triassic-age (230 to 208 million years old) Ankareh Formation. The pebbles and sand that became the coarse-grained quartzite of the Gartra Grit Member were probably eroded from highlands that were previously located to the south, east, and southeast.

Constructed between 1863 and 1867, the Tabernacle is covered by a unique, wooden lattice truss roof. When built, it was considered a spectacular engineering achievement, setting a record for the size of an open assembly space without interior supporting pillars.

The building has remarkable acoustical qualities and an enormous organ containing over 11,000 pipes. The world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs and rehearses here every week.

  • What is Building Stone?

  • What Stones Are on the Tour?

  • How Old Are These Rocks?

PI-60 Building Stones of Downtown Salt Lake City, A Walking Tour