Wall Street received its name from a tall “mud” or primitive concrete wall that was once located in this area. Initially, the pioneers planned to construct a protective wall completely encircling the city.
Wall Street received its name from a tall “mud” or primitive concrete wall that was once located in this area. Initially, the pioneers planned to construct a protective wall completely encircling Salt Lake City. A model of the city showing the pioneer wall can be seen in the Museum of Church History and Art. Although the wall no longer exists, it and similar pioneer walls have been memorialized by a monument placed on the northwest corner of the University of Utah campus.
While protection was the motivational force behind the construction of the hardened mud wall, Church leaders were also seeking a project that would provide employment for the citizens of Salt Lake. President Brigham Young strongly emphasized the importance of putting people to work: “My policy is to keep every man, woman, and child busily employed, that they may have no idle time for hatching mischief in the night, and for making plans to accomplish their own ruin.”
Gradually the wall eroded away. David A. Smith, son of President Joseph F. Smith and counselor in the Presiding Bishopric from 1907 to 1938, recorded his feelings at watching a similar rock wall around the Church tithing office being torn down:
"Soon after I entered upon my ministry as one of the Presiding Bishopric, I was requested to tear down a monument erected by the first pioneers. It did not appear to many of us, at that time, that that work being destroyed was a monument. Many of you, no doubt, remember the rock wall that surrounded part of the block east of us. I played around it as a boy and grew up under its shadows; but the full significance of it did not come to me until the task of tearing it down was assigned to me.
"As I witnessed the heavy sledge hammers break out the stones from the mortar, and saw the rock wall crumble, there came to me a picture of conditions that caused it to be erected. I saw groups of men unemployed other than the employment provided to keep them active and to help them feel they were doing their part to build a city. In this day we would call it work relief. I saw in my mind men gathering stones from the face of the earth, some burning rock for lime, others hauling sand, mixing mortar, and laying the rock and mortar into the wall."
Twelve feet high, six feet thick on the bottom, two and a half feet thick on the rounded top, this wall was built of mud, mixed with straw or hay and gravel.