The surrounding wall became the first permanent structure on what has become known as Temple Square. It was begun in 1852 as a make-work project for the new arrivals and those on their way to the gold fields in California. It later served to protect the machinery used in the construction of buildings on the temple grounds. The wall is a uniform fifteen feet high but varies in appearance because of the southwest slope of the site. It was constructed of adobe brick with a protective sandstone cap and foundation. The bricks were plastered in order to shield them from the elements. With the passage of time, however, the wall had to be rebuilt because of the gradual deterioration of the original materials. Great care has gone into its reconstruction to retain its original appearance.
A number of temporary buildings were constructed on the southwest corner of the square for general church meetings. The first were open-sided boweries with roofs made of branches and willows to provide a degree of shelter for the Saints from the elements. A more permanent building called the Old Tabernacle, was erected in 1852 to replace the first boweries. This south-facing, all-weather, rectangular building with a half-dome apse at its north end was built of adobe. It was razed in 1877 to make way for the present Assembly Hall.