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William Harrison Folsom

William Harrison Folsom was born March 25, 1815 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was a pioneer architect, and an extraordinarily interesting figure in the history of early Utah. He died in Salt Lake City in 1901.

Called in a recent study “the most sophisticated architect working“ for the L.D.S. Church during the initial Utah period. Mormon authorities were looking for a new and experienced man, and he was soon happily at work on a new (now “old“) Salt Lake Theatre, Greek revival in style (now gone). Another project of the time was a new Salt Lake Ctiy Hall.

The greatest design by Folsom is undoubtedly the L.D.S. Temple in Manti, Utah (1884). A thoroughly eclectic edifice, that building borrows and recombines historical motifs so creatively with so much originality that it can only be called Mormon in Style.

Biography adapted from Artists of Utah.

William Harrison Folsom (1815-1901), pioneer architect, is an extraordinarily interesting figure in the history of early Utah. Called in a recent study “the most sophisticated architect working“ for the L.D.S. Church during the initial Utah period, Folsom came originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After many adventures, he finally arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 3, 1860. Shortly thereafter, Folsom opened a shop on Main Street. Mormon authorities were looking for a new and experienced man, and he was soon happily at work on a new (now “old“) Salt Lake Theatre, Greek revival in style (now gone). Another project of the time was a new Salt Lake Ctiy Hall. Today known as Council House, a Georgian-to-Federal style was the Folsom solution on that project. But the greatest design by Folsom is undoubtedly the L.D.S. Temple in Manti, Utah (1884). A thoroughly eclectic edifice, that building borrows and recombines historical motifs so creatively with so much originality that it can only be called Mormon in Style. Folsom was back in Salt Lake City permanently by 1888. Dead just six days before his eighty-sixth birthday, he was mourned widely.

Biography courtesy Artists of Utah.

Newspaper Articles

"Hyrum Russell Margetts." The Salt Lake Tribune, November 20, 2000.

"The Salt Lake Tabernacle (Facts)." The Deseret News, July 1, 2000.

Books

Moss, Nina F. A History of William H. Folsom. Salt Lake City: N.p., 1973.

Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

 Last Modified 9/3/14