The monument was erected in 1859 and was originally topped by a wooden eagle, refurbished several times and eventually replaced by the current 4,000-pound, bronze eagle, with a wingspan of 20 feet. Carved by Ralph Ramsay, the original wooden eagle is on display at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum located at 300 North Main Street.
The first Eagle Gate was remodeled and enlarged with new stone piers and wider inverted arches in the early 1890s (with Ralph Ramsay's eagle rebuilt and fortified); designed by Don Carlos Young, an architect son of Brigham Young. Due to the widening of State Street in the early 1960s, the prior monument including Ramsay's eagle was removed and replaced with a much wider and larger third generation Eagle Gate, designed by Salt Lake City architect George Cannon Young. Young was the son of Don Carlos Young and the grandson of Brigham Young. The monument is one of Salt Lake City's most well known pioneer landmarks, and its current design is one of Salt Lake City's best standing examples of Mid-Century Modern design.