Construction of the Assembly Hall began on August 11, 1877. Building began on the southwest corner of Temple Square on the site of what was called the "Old Tabernacle," razed earlier that year. The old structure, an adobe building determined by the Church to be inadequate, was built in 1852 and seated 2500. The "Old Tabernacle" is not to be confused with the still-extant Salt Lake Tabernacle, built in 1867. The domed Tabernacle sits directly North of the Assembly Hall.
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.
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. (*)