It was designed after a sketch by President Brigham Young that he gave in 1853 to his appointed architect, Truman O. Angell, and Angell's assistant, William Ward. For various reasons, including historical and political events, the building was not finished until 1893. It is constructed of granite rock from nearby canyons, and its walls are eight feet thick at the base and taper to six feet at the top. The walls themselves sit on a foundation that is fifteen feet wide.
The interior of the temple is comprised of a basement level and three stories above ground. A large galleried auditorium occupies the upper two stories. The four corner towers serve as access staircases to all levels of the building. The entrance to the temple is from the Chapel Annex to the north. The present English Gothic-style annex replaced an earlier plan designed by Joseph Don Carlos Young in 1866.
The Romanesque/Gothic style of the temple with its six symbolic tower-spires gives it a distinctive appearance unlike any other building. Its six-spire configuration has since served as a model for more recent LDS temple designs. This is an indication of the traditional and symbolic importance of the Salt Lake Temple to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The surrounding environment of Temple Square helps to create a most fitting setting for such a magnificent building.
See: C. Mark Hamilton, The Salt Lake Temple: A Monument to a People (1983).
C. Mark Hamilton