Utah State Capitol
Utah’s granite capitol (300 North and State St., 801/538-3000, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) occupies a prominent spot on a hill just north of downtown Salt Lake City. The architectural style may look familiar: The building was patterned after the national capitol. The interior, with its Ionic columns, is made of polished marble from Georgia. Murals depict early explorers and pioneers; smaller paintings and statues show all of the territorial and state governors and prominent Utah figures of the past.
The Gold Room, used for receiving dignitaries, provides a formal setting graced by chandeliers, wall tapestries, elegant furniture, and cherubs on the ceiling. Enter the chambers of the House of Representatives, Senate, and Supreme Court from the mezzanine. Photo exhibits of the state’s scenic and historic spots, mining, agriculture, and beehive memorabilia line hallways on the ground floor.
Forty acres of manicured parks and monuments surround the capitol. From the steps leading to the building, you can look out over Salt Lake City and straight down State Street, which runs south about 28 miles without a curve. From near the Mormon Battalion Monument, east of the capitol, steps lead down into a small canyon and Memory Grove, another war memorial, and a series of streamside parks.
Free tours depart every hour 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday, except on holidays. Meet in front of the large map on the first floor; call 801/538-1800 for tour details. Visitors are welcome to dine at the circular cafeteria (7 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) behind the capitol. Annual legislative sessions begin in January and last about 45 days.
The venerable Council Hall lies across the street from the capitol. Dedicated in 1866, the brick building served as the city hall and a meeting place for the territorial and early state legislatures. Council Hall used to stand downtown before being moved here in 1963.
It is now the home of the Utah Travel Council. Drop in to see the staff of the Salt Lake City Welcome Center (801/538-1398, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.) on the main floor for information on sights, services, and events in the state.
The 1883 Gothic Revival building just to the east was also moved here. Formerly the 18th Ward Chapel of the LDS Church, it’s now White Memorial Chapel and is used for community events.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition