Mormons’ Oakland Temple and Oz-like D.C. edifice to close for upgrades

First Published      Last Updated Feb 23 2017 10:55 am

Two prominent Mormon temples are closing so crews can upgrade mechanical systems and refresh their furnishings and finishings.

The Oakland, Calif., temple, which sits on hill in the Bay Area, will shut down next February, while the Washington, D.C., edifice — which Mormons sometimes refer to as the Emerald City from "The Wizard of Oz" because of its gleaming appearance — will close in March 2018, according to a news release Thursday from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Renovation of the Oakland Temple is expected to last into 2019, while work on the Washington, D.C., Temple, located in Kensington, Md., will wrap up in 2020.

The Utah-based faith originally broke ground for the Oakland Temple in May 1962, and the 95,000-square-foot structure was dedicated by then-President David O. McKay in November 1964.

Groundbreaking for the 160,000-square-foot Washington, D.C., Temple, one of Mormonism's largest, occurred in December 1968. Then-President Spencer W. Kimball dedicated it in November 1974.

Latter-day Saints view temples as houses of God, a place where devout members take part in their faith's highest rites, including eternal marriages.