The original Eagle Gate was erected in 1859 to mark the entrance to Brigham Young’s property in downtown Salt Lake City. Hiram B. Clawson designed the gate and Ralph Ramsey and William Bell carved the eagle that was originally made from wood. In 1890 the gate was redesigned by architect Joseph Don Carlos Young to accommodate street car traffic on State Street and the original eagle was covered with copper and placed back atop the gate. The third generation of the Eagle Gate came in the 1960s when State Street was again widened. At this time George Cannon Young designed a new gate in the same location and Grant Fairbanks sculpted a new eagle. This new gate is a massive structure at about 73 feet wide and 30 feet tall and spans five lanes of traffic. The current bronze eagle is slightly larger than the original, weighs 4,000 pounds, and has a wingspan of about 20 feet.
In August and September 2015 the LDS Church, in collaboration with several groups, was repairing and cleaning Eagle Gate in place, 30 feet above traffic. This project focused on structural repairs and cleaning several decades of surface pollutants as well as damage from cars, snow removal, and vandals. The eagle was in remarkably good condition with the only visible damage, a small area of pitting, likely caused by someone from an adjacent apartment building throwing a citrus fruit peel onto the sculpture.
With another significant restoration project completed, the LDS Church has preserved this impressive piece of structural art and iconic heritage for visitors and residents alike for many years to come.