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Young ultimately fathered 57 biological children by more than two dozen wives, and had many adopted, foster, and stepchildren too. He owned residences throughout Salt Lake City and the Utah Territory, but many of his wives and children were housed in The Lion House. The house contains large public rooms on the ground floor with 20 bedrooms on the upper floors, and was home to as many as twelve of Young's wives including Eliza Roxey Snow and to many of the children in Young's extended family.

The house is situated at 63 East South Temple, near the corner of South Temple and State Street, just one block east of temple square It is adjacent to Young's other official residence, the Beehive house, to which it is connected by a series of rooms used as offices.

Truman O. Angell, Brigham Young's brother-in-law by his legal wife Mary Ann Angell and designer of the Salt Lake City temple, was also involved in the design of this home, which got its name from the statue of a lion, sculpted by the craftsman William F Ward, above the front entrance.

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