The foundation work on the Salt Lake Temple was nearing completion and soon would be ready for the granite upper walls. The four day trip from the quarry with oxen-drawn wagons could not possibly provide stone as quickly as it was needed. To expedite delivery and also to reduce the cost by three-fourths, a canal was proposed on which the stones could be delivered on barges. Though conceived as early as 1849 the canal was long in coming and a first venture, a segment began in 1855 from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Red Butte Canyon, was a failure.
A second canal tapping the Jordan River in the narrows, called the Jordan and Salt Lake City Canal, was started in 1864. It’s terminus was at the forks of City Creek Canyon Creek, close to the present intersections of State and North Temple Streets.
In 1872, the advent of the railroad being extended south out of Salt Lake City into Utah Valley and beyond, together with a spur east out of Sandy into Little Cottonwood Canyon to the granite quarry, provided an easier and still less expensive way of getting stone from the quarry to the temple block. The use of the canal for hauling stone was forgotten; for providing irrigation water it was completed and is still in use today. The canal may still be found open from the point of the mountain to 3300 South and 1300 East Streets. From there it courses through the city north of 3300 South Street in a four foot diameter culvert under a sidewalk or roadway or snuggled between houses. The culvert is located just west of this monument. The same culvert now also functions as a storm water overflow for Parleys, Emigration and Red Butte Canyon Creeks. From North Temple and State Street, the water courses west, underground, until it returns to the Jordan River again after its long detour. Sponsored by the Salt Lake City Public Utilities Dept. in honor of the city’s water pioneers.
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