Demolition reveals historic details as renovation begins on St. George temple

Renovation work is underway on the historic St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The temple closed for renovation on Nov. 4, 2019, for extensive structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and finish work.

The St. George temple has undergone several significant renovations since its dedication on April 6, 1877. Crews are working to preserve as much of the original craftsmanship as possible, including the original building. Twentieth-century additions on the north and west sides have been removed.

Project manager Eric Jamison told Newsroom, “The structure of the building is in fantastic condition given its age. Despite its age, the temple has endured very well.”

Emily Utt, historic sites curator for the Church History Department, said several small details have been found so far to help historians better understand the history of the temple.

“So, for the first time in 100 years, we’re able to see where the original door openings were in this building, what the floor plan was, what the paint colors were,” she said.

The exterior window of the St. George Utah Temple is uncovered Jan. 20, 2020 after more than 40 years during removal of the 1970′s-era west addition that housed an elevator and utilities. A newly constructed addition will closely match the original architecture and will include updated elevator and utility systems.
The exterior window of the St. George Utah Temple is uncovered Jan. 20, 2020 after more than 40 years during removal of the 1970′s-era west addition that housed an elevator and utilities. A newly constructed addition will closely match the original architecture and will include updated elevator and utility systems. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Plans for the renovation were released in May 2019. The existing annex, which was added in the mid-1970s, will be demolished and replaced by an annex designed to appear complementary of the historic temple itself, with replicated turrets, windows and columns.

The temple block will feature new walkways, landscaping, water features and additional shade trees. A new bride’s exit and plaza will be added to the east side of the temple annex. Doors on the temple’s south side replacing a pair of large, ground-level windows will create a new baptistry entrance and exit.

Read more: St. George Utah Temple renovation plans, renderings announced

The renovation of the St. George Utah Temple is scheduled to be completed in 2022, and the temple will be rededicated following a public open house.

A rendering of the new temple annex for the St. George Utah Temple. The temple will close Nov. 4 for extensive renovations.
A rendering of the new temple annex for the St. George Utah Temple. The temple will close Nov. 4 for extensive renovations.

Jason Cobb, on-site foreman for Grant Mackay Demolition Company and a member of the Church, said he feels working on the temple allows him to be part of history.

“It feels amazing to me to have the opportunity to be able to work on temples,” said Cobb, “to be able to feel the love that the Lord has for His house and for each one of us.”

Workers build protective covers on areas of the St. George Utah Temple during its renovation in January 2020. Renovations are projected to be completed by 2022.
Workers build protective covers on areas of the St. George Utah Temple during its renovation in January 2020. Renovations are projected to be completed by 2022. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The St. George Utah Temple was the first temple dedicated in Utah, the first in the 30-plus years after the Nauvoo Temple and the longest-operating temple in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, going nearly 150 years strong.

Renovation of the Salt Lake Temple is also underway. Continual updates on the renovation of the temple can be found at TempleSquare.org.