The Beehive House was constructed in 1854. It gets its name from the beehive sculpture that adorns the top of the mansion—a Churchwide symbol of cooperation, industry, and hard work. The building’s architect was Truman Angell, who was designing the Salt Lake Temple at the same time. The Beehive House was the anchor for Brigham Young’s large property holdings and was a family home for several generations of Church leaders.
Along with the Lion House, the Beehive House was built to accommodate Brigham Young’s large family. In the early days of the Church, some members of the Church, including Brigham Young, practiced plural marriage, resulting in large numbers of children. A revelation given to the Church’s first president and prophet, Joseph Smith, instituted the practice among members in the early 1840s. An official manifesto in 1890 led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. Two small offices next door to the Beehive House served as Church headquarters for more than 60 years.
Following the death of Joseph F. Smith, the Beehive House became a boarding home for young women living in Salt Lake City for work or education. The home was operated by the Church’s Young Women organization. The program was very successful, and many young women of the Church roomed at the home until the 1950s.
The Beehive House reopened as a historic house museum in 1961 following a major restoration project. Today, the Beehive House tour focuses on family life and leadership for those who lived in the home between 1854 and 1918.