The St. George Temple begins its open house this week, and pictures of the renovation were posted today on the Church Newsroom site. I wanted to share my thoughts on the results. (If you want a more detailed history/layout of the temple, see my other post that includes floor plans.)
First, the historical significance of the St. George Temple (and other pioneer temples) is usually forgotten in favor of the more prominent Salt Lake Temple. This was the first temple in Utah, and really, the only "pioneer" temple in that it was completed entirely before a railroad was available at the temple site. Everything in the St. George Temple came from the local area, with the exception of the glass (which was shipped to Salt Lake and then brought down on wagon carts). The pioneers were ingenious in their use of construction materials.
Second, the temple has undergone significant changes even before this renovation. The ordinance rooms were originally housed in the basement, and were only officially bumped up to the second floor entirely in the 1930s (when murals were also added). The temple's only main staircases, two spiral ones on the east side, are insufficient, and so in the 1970s, a whole addition was added on the west side with a new staircase. In that renovation, murals were also removed, the 4-stage progression was converted to stationary, and other changes were made.
Overall, this renovation is very sensitive to the time period in which the temple was built. Whenever something could fit the time period of the late 1800s, it appears they went with that. In terms of structural integrity, though, the temple had to have some major upgrades, meaning some major parts of the temple are no longer "original." This includes the windows (before, you could identify original glass panes by seeing when they looked "wavy" or "bubbly"), the floors and ceilings (which were sagging), and major parts of the walls, especially on the main floor.
The font bowl and oxen are the originals from 1877. To be honest, I think it would have been incredibly difficult to move them at all. Much of the font railings appear more ornate than they were before (from the 1970 renovation).