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Every year, at least three million people come to visit Temple Square in the heart of Salt Lake City. Among the well-known buildings and beautiful landscaping hide a few gems that not many people know about.

A Globe-Trotting Tree

In 1949, the State of Israel was barely a year old. In the wake of the Holocaust, Jews from all over the world flowed to the Holy Land to build a new nation. That same year a young woman traveled all the way from Israel to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. In her purse, she carried a special cargo. A small seedling, one of the famed Cedars of Lebanon.

The tree survived the 7,000-mile journey and today that tree, a real Cedar of Lebanon, quietly graces the east entrance to Temple Square. It’s a living example of the tree described in scripture and used to build the temple in Jerusalem.

An Old Scientific Observatory

Temple Square is a place of faith, but historically it’s also a place of science. Outside the doors to the South Visitors Center, most visitors pass right by a U shaped monument. The United States Meridian Base. It marks the location of an early scientific observatory. The observatory played a role in a network of sites used to establish a nationwide standard clock. Its telescope helped create Mountain Standard Time.  For years the observations and measurements regulated the Salt Lake City’s clocks.

The Center Of It All

Just on the other side of the wall from the Meridian Base is the Salt Lake Base and Meridian. All surveying in the area refers back to this point. Every street, home, and building in Salt Lake is measured from this one point.