Temple Square is a ten acre complex located in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon or LDS Church). In recent years, the usage of the name has gradually changed to include several other church facilities immediately adjacent to Temple Square. Contained within Temple Square proper are the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, the Seagull Monument and two visitors' centers.
In 1847, when Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, Church president Brigham Young selected a plot of the desert ground and proclaimed, "Here we will build a temple to our God." When the city was surveyed, the block enclosing that location was designated for the temple, and became known as Temple Square. Temple Square is surrounded by a high, granite wall that was built shortly after the block was designated for the building of the temple.
The square also became the headquarters of the LDS Church. Other buildings were built on the plot, including a tabernacle (prior to the one occupying Temple Square today) and Endowment House, both of which were later torn down. The Salt Lake Tabernacle, home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was built in 1867 to accommodate the General Conferences of the Church, with a seating capacity of 8,000. Another church building called the Assembly Hall was later built with a seating capacity of 2,000.
As the Church has grown, its headquarters has expanded into the surrounding area. In 1917, an administration building was built on the block east of the temple, to be followed in 1972 by the twenty-eight story LDS Church Office Building, which was, for many years, the tallest building in the state of Utah. The Hotel Utah, another building on this block, was remodeled in 1995 as additional office space and a large film theater and renamed the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. In 2000, the Church purchased the section of Main Street between this block and Temple Square and connected the two blocks with a plaza called the Main Street Plaza. In 2000, the Church completed a new, 21,000 seat Conference Center on the block north of Temple Square.
The Family History Library and the Church History Museum are located on the block west of Temple Square.
The grounds, which feature a number of gardens, often host concerts and other events; during the Christmas holiday season, hundreds of thousands of lights sparkle from trees and shrubs around Temple Square. The lighting of Temple Square time is a popular event, attended by tens of thousands.