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Visiting the Cardston Alberta Temple: 1913 - 1923 Monumental Architecture by the Rockies, at Cardston, Alberta

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Provincial flag of Alberta

Provincial flag of Alberta

Monumentality and Rockies in striking complementarity

[NB: Among the many notable buildings which are the subject of these hubpages, these may include religious buildings, described as churches, etc.; these descriptions centre on the buildings' architectural and historical interest. This visit occurred some years ago.]

A building by which the town of Cardston, Alberta is dominated is the LDS Temple, which is a National Historic Site of Canada, with a visitor centre (1).

Commenced in 1913 and completed in 1923, the building is monumentally proportioned, and, incorporating geometric shapes, resembles a pyramid. The nearby Rockies act as a backdrop to views of the building; I have supplied a photo, above, showing the mountainous environment.

Despite the structure's status as a National Historic Site of Canada, for theological reasons it is not open to the public. According to Mormon teaching (2), adherents are supposed to be assessed for increasing levels of spirituality before admittance to such a building is conceded. When visiting the town some years ago, I was able to enter the building's visitor centre, where I received an explanation why I was not able to enter the building itself (3).

The building was designed by Pope and Burton (4) of Salt Lake City, Utah and is said to combine architectural influences from both ancient Mayans and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). The structure is executed in granite. I have supplied a photo, below, of the entrance to the visitor centre.

The Cardston Temple underwent a program of restoration in 1991.

The building is situated at 348 Third Street West, Cardston, Alberta, its monumentality and the Rockies in striking complementarity.

November 11, 2020


(1) See also:

(2) It is estimated that 80% of the inhabitants of the town of Cardston identify with Mormonism. This fact, together with the grandiose geography of Alberta and the Western provinces, truly reinforce just how varied a country Canada is. This fact would probably also serve to emphasize the north-south nature of contacts with the United States in such areas of Alberta, as much as east-west contacts with the remainder of central and eastern Canada.

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(3) When I visited this location, I was conscious of a curious stillness; it seemed that few other visitors were conspicuous. At a somewhat irrational level, there seemed to be a sense of the overwhelming.

(4) Hyrum Pope (1880-1939) and Harold Burton (1887-1969) were notably followers of the Arts and Crafts movement. The exterior of the building was mainly responsibility of Hyrum Pope, while the interior was mainly that of Harold Burton. The Pope and Burton architectural partnership was founded in 1910. Other works by Pope and Burton include a number of LDS buildings, Holy Trinity Cathedral (Greek Orthodox), Salt Lake City, and the Blackfoot Tabernacle (formely LDS, now a funeral home), Blackfoot, Idaho.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Also worth seeing

Cardston, Alberta has interesting museums: the Remington Carriage Museum, the Courthouse Museum and the Card Pioneer Home.

The lakeside hamlet of Waterton, Alberta (distance: 45.9) within Waterton Lakes National Park attracts many visitors, including numerous hikers; attractions include the berth for boat trips on Waterton Lake, overlooked by the majestic Prince of Wales Hotel; the Cameron Falls on Evergreen Avenue, and a Heritage Centre at 117 Waterton Avenue.

St Mary, Montana, USA (distance: 55.4 kilometres / 34.4 miles) has a Visitor Center at the entrance to Glacier Park, and outstanding mountain views and of St. Mary Lake.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Lethbridge Airport (distance from Lethbridge Airport to Cardston: 70.2 kilometers), via Calgary, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available; some visitors may prefer to make the road journey to Cardston directly from Calgary International Airport (distance from Calgary International Airport to Cardston: 246.2 kilometers). Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Other of my hubpages may also be of interest


Liz Westwood from UK on November 12, 2020:

This looks and sounds like a very interesting building. It is helpful to also read about nearby sites of interest.

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