However, the deceptively gothic exterior conceals a more modern interior lacking vaulted ceilings.
Although built of granite rock from the same quarry as the Salt Lake City Temple, the Assembly Hall's unhewn exterior looks much different. The stones for the Assembly Hall were not cut as exactingly as the Temple's. This accounts for the building's dark, rough texture and the broader masonry joints between stones.
Seagull Monument sits directly in front of the building to the east.
During the first two years of construction, the Assembly Hall was confusingly called the "new tabernacle." John Taylor, then President of the LDS Church, cleared up the confusion by naming it the "Salt Lake Assembly Hall" in 1879.
Obed Taylor was commissioned as architect, and designed the structure in Victorian Gothic style, which was popular at the time. Using mostly discarded granite stone from the ongoing construction of the Salt Lake Temple, builder Henry Grow completed construction in 1882 at a total cost of $90,000.
After the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall was the second permanent structure completed on Temple Square. It has been modified several times since completion, however. A four foot flying-angel weather vane like one that topped the older Nauvoo Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois was removed. Additionally, the original ceiling murals depicting ancient and modern prophets in the LDS Church were painted over.
The most comprehensive renovations occurred from 1979 to 1983 to correct structural weaknesses in the building's tower and roof trusses. While rebuilding the tower, each of the Hall's 24 spires were replaced with fiberglass moldings. Additionally, all the softwood benches were refinished, and a new 3,489 pipe organ was installed. Acoustics in the building were enhanced by installing hundreds of small speakers.
Currently, the Assembly Hall hosts occasional free weekend music concerts and is filled as overflow for the Church's Annual and Semiannual General Conferences.