The Lion and Beehive Houses were both once homes built for second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (frequently misnamed the “Mormon Church” by the media) has been headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, since 1847.
The Beehive House was constructed in 1854. Brigham Young was also territorial governor of the Utah Territory, and the Beehve House served as his executive mansion from 1852 to 1855, where he entertained important guests. It later became the official home of later presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith.
The Lion House, so named for a stone lion which sits on top of the front door to the house, was constructed in 1856 and housed up to twelve of Brigham Young’s wives and their families. Mormon polygamy was still being practiced at this time, and Brigham Young had several families to take care of. It was in the Lion House that Brigham Young founded the Retrenchment Society for his daughters and other young women of the Church to learn together principles of industry, modesty, and religion. This society became today’s Young Women Association of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young died in the Lion House in 1877.
Both houses were designed by Truman Angell, Brigham Young’s brother-in-law and architect of the Salt Lake Temple. The houses are built out of adobe and sandstone. While the Lion House is named for a stone lion which reminded Brigham of a similar lion featured on a prominent home in Vermont (where Brigham grew up) and which also served as a reminder of Brigham’s nickname “Lion of the Lord,” the Beehive House is named for a carved beehive on top of the house. Brigham Young frequently used the symbol of the beehive to denote industry.
After the death of Brigham Young in 1877, his family maintained the houses for several years before selling them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After being used as a residence for LDS Church presidents, the Beehive House later became a dormitory. It was restored in 1960 and is now a historical site open for public tours.
The Lion House became a home economics center for the Latter-day Saint University, which was located on the same block of South Temple Street. The Lion House later became a social center for young women of the Church where the Young Women Mutual Improvement Association held classes in myriad subjects including art, needlework, and lectures on diverse subjects. After its restoration in 1968, it remained a social center. It is home of the Lion House Pantry restaurant and is available for wedding receptions, group meetings, and birthday parties.