History & Architecture

Stained Glass Windows

The three large stained glass windows at the Church’s current location at C Street and South Temple were created by R. T. Giles and Co. of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1905.

On October 10, 1906 a powerful storm blew out the east window in the sanctuary and for a period of six months no services could be held there. Three crosses were added to the original design of the window, at a replacement cost exceeding $3,000.

During the church restoration project of 2003, all of the stained glass windows were dismantled for cleaning by a local artisan. Each piece of glass was scrubbed to remove years of dirt. The windows were then reassembled and strengthened.

The seven memorial windows in the sanctuary’s colonnade cost $250 each. They represent the chronological life of Christ: a) Madonna and Child, b) Jesus Disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, c) The Beseeching Christ, d) The Seeking Christ, e) The Good Shepherd, f) The Light of the World, and g) Ascension into Heaven.

FPC organ loftChurch Organ

The $8,000 Bennett pipe organ was dedicated on April 10, 1911 at an organ concert that was the social event of the year with 900 people attending. The organ had 3 manuals, 45 stops and over 2,000 pipes. The chimes were dedicated in 1969 as a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Bowe. In 1999, a new electronic Rodgers console was installed.

Special Architectural Features

First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City, Utah, was organized in 1873. The present church structure, built in 1903, was restored in 2003. It is one of the three oldest religious structures in the city. The church architecture is in the Gothic Revival style, designed by noted Salt Lake City architect, Walter Ware, and modeled after Carlisle Cathedral in Carlisle, England. The church was constructed of indigenous red sandstone quarried at nearby Red Butte Canyon. Gothic Revival characteristics have a strong association between religion and nature, based on the Medieval English precedent from the 12th-15th centuries. The style was a way of building a very tall building while preserving as much virtual light as possible. Main features of Gothic Revival architecture displayed in First Presbyterian Church include: Overlaid tracery (Bars and ribs used decoratively in the windows some forming netlike patterns based on the circle, arch, trefoil, and quatrefoil); Vault (Covered areas); Pointed arch (On doors and windows).
Stained glass windows

Crockets: Decorative elements sometimes in the form of curled leaves, birds or flowers and used at regular intervals to decorate the sloping edges of spires, denials and pinnacles.

Finial: Carved ornamentation that tops a gable or pinnacle.

Pinnacle: Forms the cap or crown of a small turret.

Clerestory: An upper story of a building with windows above adjacent roofs.

Boss: A knob or protrusion of stone or wood, usually used in the ceiling of buildings, particularly at the intersection of a vault.

Gargoyle: Associated with waterspouts and drains, the term “gargoyle” comes from the Latin “gurgulio”, not only meaning “throat” but also describing the “gurgling” sound made by water as it runs through the figure. Gargoyles can be found in many types of architecture, but they are usually associated with the great churches and cathedrals of Europe.

FPC archSteep pitched gable

Cusp: A curved triangular-shaped projection from the inner curve of an arch or circle.

Oculus: Any of several structural elements resembling an eye. A small window that is circular or oval in shape.

Tower: The emblem of the stability of truth and religious reverence were elaborately decorated, some pinnacled, some not.


By the 1990s the building had declined and so the congregation and community began a $4.5 million dollar restoration to strengthen and repair interior and exterior damage.

Contributions and gifts are invited. Tax-deductible contributions for the continued preservation of the building may be made by sending a check to the FPC Preservation Foundation, First Presbyterian Church, 12 C Street, Salt Lake City, 84103. Call 801-363-3889 for more information.

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