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Council House Site (Gateway Tower)

The nineteen-story gateway tower west is situated on the southwest corner of Main Street and South Temple Street where Salt Lake City’s original Council House once stood.

Council House

Latter-day Saint endowment sessions were even held here beginning in 1851 until the Endowment House was completed in 1855. By 1870 it was also the home of the University of Deseret (later University of Utah) and a business called Commercial Bazaar. It was destroyed in the early hours of June 21, 1883, when Hiram B. Clawson’s Wagon Depot caught fire and several barrels of gunpowder blew up. An adjoining building containing the photography business of C. R. Savage also caught fire and destroyed his photography plates and equipment. This spectacular fire likely fueled the creation of Salt Lake City’s first full-time fire department in 1883.

Interesting Facts

  • The modern Gateway now serves as an office complex. It was formerly home to the Mormon Handicraft store until 2004, when it was moved to This Is the Place Heritage Park at the mouth of Immigration Canyon, to the east of the city.
  • During the Great Depression, Utah women sought means to supplement the family income. In 1937 the Relief Society general president, Louise Y. Robinson, helped to open a store that could meet such needs. The Mormon Handicraft Store sold craft items and held craft demonstrations and weekly quilting classes. In 1986, Deseret Book took over operations of the Mormon Handicraft store from the Relief Society.
  • The store in the Gateway Tower West opened on December 6, 2000. This unique store preserved pioneer heritage and craftsmanship while promoting a spirit of self-reliance and thrift. Visitors could step in and out and browse some of Salt Lake’s finest homemade arts and crafts.