Constructed 1912-1913, the Capitol Theatre incorporated classical design and was stylistically advanced for its time. the theater's highly decorative Italian Renaissance style is significant as an innovation in the development of Utah architecture. The building, with its ornate facade style, including exquisite terra cotta figurines, moldings and brackets, was new in the city, along with the Hotel Utah, which was built at the same time. The interior marble staircases and balconies, as well as the marble-paved lobby, were originally set off by a color scheme of gray and gold.
Designed by Albert G. Lansburgh, who had graduated from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, the Capitol Theatre was originally built as part of the Orpheum Theatre chain. It utilized the most modern mechanical contrivances or its time, bringing advancements in safety and comfort through such features as fireproof and earthquake-resistant construction and air conditioning. The building was remodeled in 1929 as a motion picture theater. In 1976 it was purchased by Salt Lake County and restored closely to its original form.