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Renovated St. George temple, first dedicated in 1877, open for tours before rededication

Sep 6, 2023, 3:43 PM | Updated: Sep 7, 2023, 7:19 am

ST. GEORGE, Utah — The St. George Utah temple is now open for tours after almost four years of renovations.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted a media tour at the temple on Wednesday, and other invited guests will tour the temple over the next week before the public open house begins on Sept. 15.

The renovations included adding a new heating and cooling system and high efficiency systems in the temple, making it more accessible with elevators and improved walkways and stairs, water-wise landscaping with a secondary water irrigation system and a reinforced stone foundation.

geometric patters of 4 stories of square stairs going down

Looking down on the staircase on the inside of the St. George Utah Temple. (Intellectual Reserve)

Andy Kirby, director of the Church’s historic temple renovations, said the temple will be able to operate efficiently for many years, and he anticipates the temple will not need major renovations again for another 50 to 75 years.

“I think the pioneers who built this would be pleased with our work,” Kirby said. “They would be satisfied that we preserved their efforts and the beauty and the intent of their work.”

The building has additions that were designed to match the original architecture, including a baptistry entrance and a bride’s exit, and the interior design matches historic furnishings.

stairs leading to a basin of water resting on the backs of 12 oxen

The baptistry of the St. George Utah Temple. (Intellectual Reserve)

The public open house will run until Nov. 11 and anyone can reserve a tour on the church’s website.

The First Presidency of the church announced in May that the temple will be dedicated on Dec. 10, and the dedication will be broadcast to all congregations in the St. George Utah Temple district.

This is the third dedication for this temple. It was dedicated first in 1877 and is the oldest temple still in operation. The temple was rededicated in 1975 after other renovations.

The St. George Utah Temple circa 1900. (Intellectual Reserve)

Steven E. Snow, former church historian and St. George native, said this temple was the first in the West and has stood for almost 150 years.

“I think Brigham Young was very, very happy that finally a temple had been built in the West before he passed,” he said.

The Salt Lake Temple was under construction still when the St. George Temple was completed.

Church announces sites for two US temples

President Russell M. Nelson announced in October 2018 all pioneer-era temples would be renovated; the Manti and Salt Lake City temples are still under construction.

The St. George area has a second temple that is also under construction, the Red Cliffs Utah Temple. Ground was broken on that temple on Nov. 7, 2020. Dates for its open house and dedication have not been announced yet.

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Renovated St. George temple, first dedicated in 1877, open for tours before rededication