« ZurückWeiter »
our whole plan of travel. While this pleasure still awaited us, and none in particular of any kind seemed present save the in-door courtesies of our Portland friends, it was still among the memories of a life-time to have seen the Columbia in its Cataracts and its Dalles.
THE great ecclesiastical glory of Mormonism is to be the Temple. This is now in process of erection, but the work is pushed very slowly—probably with a view to the greater soundness of its foundations, as the other reasons common in such cases, lack of money and of labor, can hardly be operative here, the Church being enormously wealthy, able to control the time of all its disciples, and blessed with a male membership whose large majority is used to physical labor. The basement of the Temple, as I learned from a Mormon builder, was excavated several years ago, and its foundations partly laid, when Brigham Young discovered in the work something which dissatisfied him, and had it leveled to the ground. The foundations are now well up once more, and the gigantic ashlars are steadily coming in from their quarry in the cañons. The stone used is a handsome compact granite, like the Quincy, but even whiter, and in the more ornamental parts of the superstructure will be associated with marble, and that magnificent crystalline limestone, traversed by veins of pure calc-spar, which, in almost every direction around Salt Lake, is found adjoining the metamorphic strata. The City is laid out in the shape of an L, whose upright points north and south. “Temple Block” is situated nearly in the inner angle of this L. On the east Brigham Young's, or “the Prophet's" block, adjoins it, with a street intervening. Heber Kimball's stands corner to corner with it, just north of Brigham's. That of George Smith (the original prophet's cousin, and keeper of the sacred archives) is on the west of it. Across the street, on the south of it, is the Council House Block. On the southeast is the block occupied by Mr. Wells, one of the chief apostles, and third of the three presidents, Brigham and Heber 1 being the others; the History Office is also on the same. The Temple Block is 660 feet square, its lines running due north, south, east, and west, its front being on the east The front line of the Temple is 78 feet 3 inches from the east line of the block; the length of the building, including towers and pedestal, will be 186} feet, and its width 1184 feet. I was very much surprised when I learned how comparatively insignificant were the dimensions of a building intended to be the external symbol of God's abode among men, and the architectural glory of a people whose sectarian belief is so closely identified with its national
1 Written before Heber's death. With this understanding none of the essential statements are affected.
life as the Mormons. The foundation walls, where they reach the surface of the ground, are 16 feet wide. From the surface they slope 3 feet on each side to the height of 73 feet, having thus on their upper surface a width of 10 feet. On this base begins the true wall, which is 8 feet thick. Measuring from outside to outside of the north and south wall, the width of the body of the building will be but 99 feet — the larger measurement given above including the towers, which stand at each end of the east and west side. Beside these towers at the corners, there are two others, at the centre of the east and west sides respectively. Each of these towers has pedestals of the same form and proportions as the wall, built of immense rough ashlars laid in lime mortar. Along the north and south sides of the Temple, between the towers, the earth will be sloped into a glacis, or terrace, 6 feet high above the general level of the block; and on its upper surface will begin a promenade with a width varying from 11 to 22 feet, and reaching round the entire building, with stone steps leading up to it from the lower level at convenient intervals along the slope of the glacis. The towers on the four corners start from their footing of 26 feet square, continue to the height of 163 feet, where they reach the line of the first string-course, and are reduced to 25 feet square. They continue thus 38 feet higher to the second string-course; are then reduced to 23 feet square, and rise another distance of 38 feet to the third string-course. From this course the corner towers become cylindrical, with an interior diameter of 17 feet; those on the east rising to the height of 25, and those on the west to a height of 19 feet, before they reach their own proper string-pieces, or cornices. From these cornices, on all four of them, rise battlements 9 feet high. The string-pieces, save where broken by buttresses, are continuous all round the building, and are massive mouldings from solid blocks of stone. Each of the corner towers has on each of its exposed sides two ornamental windows in their 25 feet square section, two in the section 23 feet square, and one in the highest. The centre towers, on both the east and west ends, start 31 feet square, but are otherwise of the same proportions as the corner towers as high as the third string-piece. From that line the east centre tower rises 40 feet to the top of its battlement, and the west centre tower 34 feet, — each being thus 6 feet higher than its adjoining corner towers. Each of the centre towers is, furthermore, crowned with a spire; the spire of the east tower rising to the height of 200, and that of the west to 190 feet. All the towers are ornamented at the corners of each story with pinnacled turrets, and each side of the towers is flanked by a pair of buttresses. On the front of each centre tower are two windows, each 30 feet high, set one above the other. It is expected that these will rival the finest abbey and cathedral windows of the Old World. They will be of the handsomest carved stone-work, with stained-glass panes; and there are among the Mormons one or two artists in both these departments, whose talents, judging from small specimens of their work
which I saw, are really quite remarkable. It is the intention that all the labor and the art expended on the Temple shall be distinctly indigenous; and the pride which Brigham takes in all home productions tends to the constant development of the very class of abilities needed for this result. The height of the ridge-pole of the Temple will be about 100 feet. The foundation of the building looks more like that of a fort than of a cathedral. Not only do the massive side walls, 16 feet thick below, 8 feet above, contribute to this impression, but the partitions also, of enormous ashlars, by which the basement is separated into a multitude of rooms. In the centre of the area is the baptismal room, 59 feet long by 85 feet wide, separated from the main north and south walls by four rooms, two on each side, each 19 feet long by 12 wide. On the east and west sides of these rooms are four passages, 12 feet wide; and still further east and west four more rooms, two at each end, 28 by 384 feet. These rooms are all 16} feet high, and are to have elegantly ornamented and groined ceilings. From the basement, by stair-ways in the towers, we ascend to courts 16 feet wide, running from tower to tower, and communicating by, doors with all parts of the building. Out of the front or east court, a lofty door-way will enter the principal room of the Temple, 120 feet in length, 80 feet in width, and 38 feet in height to the crown of the ceiling. The ceiling is to be groined; its arches, segments of an ellipse, resting upon columns based on the partition-walls below. These arches will meet in Ogive fashion at the centre, and be as profusely ornamented as possible by saintly artificers. The space outside of the columns supporting the arches, between them and the outer walls, will be divided into sixteen compartments, eight on each side, and 14 feet square, with a passage-way 6 feet wide, running along them the entire length of the building —each of these having in the outer wall (here 6 feet thick) a large elliptical window with the major axis perpendicular. The next story is to be precisely similar, except that the width of its large room will be one foot wider than that beneath it. The ornamentation of the building is intended to be symbolical of that employed on the celestial courts above. Its plan is already partially developed to Brigham by revelation through an angel, but will be communicated in all its particulars only as required during the progress of the work. The ungodly understand this arrangement as synonymous among their own uninspired class with waiting to see how things will look; but whatever they may say, I believe that Brother Brigham thinks he receives the plans from an angel. If it be really an angel, we must arrive at the painful conclusion that good taste is not necessarily included in that perfection of human nature which ensues on translation to the celestial state; for such an architectural hotch-potch as that which I have just attempted to describe was certainly never seen on earth, and must render any part of heaven where it existed a very undesirable place of residence