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The Lion House

The Lion House was the home of President Brigham Young, who was often referred to as the Lion of the Lord. This two-story, multi-gabled home was built between 1855 and 1856 as an additional residence for President Young and his large family. Brigham Young passed away in the main floor room on August 29, 1877.

Lion House

President David O. McKay sought to ensure that this historic monument continued to serve as a social center. He assigned the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association Presidency— Florence S. Jacobsen, Margaret R. Jackson, and Dorothy P. Holt—to renovate the Lion House. Work of research and reconstruction began in the spring of 1967. The Lion House was reopened to the public in August 1968 and has been serving guests and visitors ever since.

Inside the Lion House Daughters of Utah Pioneers Young men sat in the front parlor of the Lion House and waited for their dates to come downstairs. The earliest Young Women’s program of the Church was organized here.

This edifice has served a variety of purposes and accommodated an extensive range of activities. Besides being home for President Young and his family, some of the east rooms on the main floor were designated as Church office space years after the house was purchased from the Young family. Throughout that period, numerous local and national dignitaries were entertained in the Lion House. The Lion House is still used as a hospitable community reception center. There is a buffet-style restaurant in the basement.

Sculpted Lion Kathie and W. Jeffrey Marsh Guarding the home, the original lion from which the Lion House derives its name was sculpted by William Ward.
Daughters L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University Brigham Young’s ten oldest daughters were known affectionately as “The Big Ten.” They formed the original Retrenchment Society.

In 1869, the east-west railroads were joined at Promontory Point, north of Salt Lake City. The coming of the railroad brought with it all the fads and fashions of the world. Some of President Young’s daughters were adopting eastern fashions. So, on November 28, 1869, seven months after the arrival of the railroad, President Young met with his daughters in the front parlor of the Lion House. “We are about to organize a Retrenchment Association,” he explained to them, “which I want you all to join, and I want you to vote to retrench in your dress, in your tables, in your speech, wherein you have been guilty of silly, extravagant speeches and light-mindedness of thought. Retrench in everything that is bad and worthless, and improve in everything that is good and beautiful.”

Dinner Bell - Brigham Young used a bell to summon family members to meals. The bell is now on display in the Lion House and suggests the importance of family cooperation and togetherness around the dinner table.
Photo by David M. Whitchurch

Today that organization has grown into the Young Women program membership numbering hundreds of thousands, whose leaders do their best to instill dignity and high standards in young women throughout the world. Brigham Young once counseled women to “study order and cleanliness in your various occupations. Adorn your city and neighborhood. Make your homes lovely, and adorn your hearts with the grace of God.”

The hallway on the main level near the front door is where Brigham Young would ring a bell each evening and gather his family to the front parlor for prayer. In addition, Brigham gave his children counsel in this parlor. In the evenings, many socials were held here and young men came to court Brigham’s daughters.

Visit the Lion House website to learn about visits to the Lion House and about current operations.