Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Elwin Robison on the Kirtland Temple (Part I)

Many studies of early Mormon history subordinate historical inquiry to proving that Joseph Smith was either a saint or a scoundrel. (p.xii)

Context of the Kirtland Temple

Robison quickly reviews how the Western Reserve had come into being and why it was a magnet from settlers (and land speculators) from New England: gentler topography, richer soil and milder climate (p.1). Robison also points to the excellent transportation infrastructure integration, with the Lake Erie canal providing access to Buffalo and the Erie Canal, open since 1825.
Fairport Harbor, twelve miles to the north of Kirtland, was an especially important transportation node because high bluffs made it the last good anchorage until the || city of Cleveland, situated on the Cuyahoga River. The Cuyahoga River itself formed the first leg of the Ohio Canal, which after 1832 connected Lake Erie with the Ohio River and the entire Mississippi River system. (p.2)
This spelled a superior economic situation.
Thus, Ohio farmers had the enviable position of having access to markets in both New York and New Orleans via inexpensive river transportation. (p.2)
All this did not just bring the settlers, but also the land speculators.
By the 1830s, land prices in the Kirtland area were soaring, a fact that was to have a significant influence on the future of Mormonism and the Kirtland Temple. (p.2)
[[Unfortunately, Robison belongs to the generation of Mormon scholars, who confused the United Firm with the law of consecration. For example:
One problem was the slow development of the United Firm, the communitarian economic organization of the early Saints who pooled their resources and then received back individual "stewardships" proportionate to each family's needs. (p.3)
As converts without personal resources moved to Independence and applied for entrance into the communitarian organization, community resources were stretched. (p.3)
While prosecutions raged in Missouri, Kirtland remained the primary center of the Church. .. Most significantly, Joseph Smith himself resided in Kirtland. These social and political conditions combined to make Kirtland the location of the first temple built by the Mormons. (p.4)
The temple in Kirtland had to be built with what was available locally, both in terms of materials and of talent.
Most of the temple's builders were self-reliant craftsmen used to making do with materials at hand. No trained architect was involved with its [i.e. the temple's RCK] design, and experienced builders were summoned only after plans for the structure had been completed. The few skilled joiners and masons in the group relied on the same architectural pattern books and vernacular aesthetics used by other craftsmen along the frontier. (p.4)
At the same, the requirements of the temple broke the mold and required innovation.
However, the temple's unusual arrangement of two main congregational spaces required non-standard solutions in lighting and circulation. These nonstandard regions of the building tell us a great deal about the skill level of the artisans who built it. (p.4)
The prolific record keeping, both personal and institutional, of the Kirtland Saints gives unusually detailed insight into the construction process.
The challenges and struggles faced by these workers are recorded in a large number of diaries and letters, which provide thorough documentation unusual for most frontier American structures. (p.4)
The drawback of this non-professional volunteer builder team was that, when external circumstances required the members to volunteer for something else [such as Zion's Camp, RCK], discontinuities developed.
... events surrounding the establishment of the new religion required some of the designers and supervising craftsmen to leave the building site. Consequently, the Kirtland Temple displayed several different building traditions and the mark of various builders. (p.5)
Overall the project was just at the limit of what the community could pull off, financially and organizationally.
A study of the temple's physical building fabric indicates how some of these obstacles were overcome, namely, what was purchased, what had to be made by hand, what had to be substituted, and what individual members of the Church contributed. (p.5)

The Design of the Temple, 1832-1833

The process of planning for the temple took its departure with D&C 88, received December 27th, 1832, in Kirtland (p.7). The general outline of the revelation---"prayer, fasting, faith and learning"---made it sound like a religious meetinghouse (p.7), and impression that later revelations such as D&C 95:8, 13-14 from June 1st, 1833, corrected (p.7).

Architecturally, the main distinction was the two-floor, lower and upper courtyard construction (p.7).
The lower court was to function like a common Christian church for preaching, administering the sacrament (communion), praying and fasting. However, the upper hall was to be dedicated for the School of the Prophets, whose purpose was to give Church leaders both secular and religious instruction. [= HC 1:352] (p.7)
Furthermore, [and in line with Mormon restoration thinking, RCK] the Kirtland Temple looked to connect to the Old Testament temples.
The use of the term "house" parallels biblical references to the temple of Solomon (see 1 Chr 28:10; 29:16). The term "court" referring to the main rooms of the Kirtland Temple, evokes the image of the courtyard of Solomon's temple (see 2 Chr 4:9). This terminology reflects the Mormon's belief that they were restoring the ancient Christian organization of the Church. (p.7)
Robison then turns to the difficult issue [for Mormons, RCK] of how to relate the vision that Smith, Rigdon and Frederick Williams had of the temple, and their insistence that the implementation corresponded to that design, with the fact that the builder made a lot of individual decisions, including the numerous differences in detail between the lower and the upper court, usually following standard practice pattern books? (p.8) Robison proposes a gestalt-vs-closeup interpretation.
... though Williams perceived the vision and the built temple as corresponding perfectly, he probably overlooked minor differences the craftsmen had introduced. The Presidency of the Church defined major elements of the Kirtland Temple design, but individual builders worked out structural and ornamental details to the best of their abilities. (p.8)
Robison then points out that there was a cross-pollination taking place between the Independence and the Kirtland temple design.
Although the Presidency's vision specifically addressed the Kirtland Temple, the design received in the vision was also applied to plans for the never-built Independence Temple. The Kirtland Temple and the Independence Temple plans are remarkably similar in window layout, floor plan, and interior details. The entries in Joseph Smith;s journal describing the plans for the Independence Temple and the entries describing the revelation concerning the Kirtland Temple occur within days of each other. (p.9)
[[Thus, the Kirtland plan cannot be a reaction to the difficulties of implementing the Independence plan. RCK]]
Plans for the Independence Temple were mailed to Edward Partridge in Missouri on June 25, 1833, just three weeks after the vision of the Kirtland Temple was received. [= HC 1:363, RCK] Given the close correlation in scale and layout, the Independence drawings clearly represent the plan received by Joseph Smith,  Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams for the Kirtland Temple. (p.9)
The fact that no drawings of the Kirtland temple from the construction phase have come down to use gives rise to two possibilities: either it was deemed unnecessary, due to the presence of the Presidency (p.9). Or only the plans of the Independence Temple, which was never constructed, survived, because no builder ever made reference to them on a daily basis.
... drawings often were worn out and tattered by constant reference during construction and were simply thrown away upon completion of the building. Since the Independence Temple was never built, its drawings were not worn out during the building process and hence have survived, while Kirtland Temple plans may have been used and discarded. Also, any plans and specifications for the Kirtland structure would not have had to be mailed and therefore were never logged in the daybook. (p.9)
Robison then characterizes the two different sets of drawings for the Independence Temple (p.9).
Two different sets of temple drawings were prepared and sent to Independence. The first drawing set consists of an unsigned sheet showing a plan and specifications on the recto (front) and front and side elevations with written specifications on the verso (back). The second drawing set, signed by Frederick G. Williams, was sent to Independence a little later and was identified as a revised plan. The second shows two bays added to the building, stretching it out by about twenty feet. Internal arrangements and the building height were kept the same. (p.9)
Robison then uses the evidence of these drawings to infer the architectural capabilities and pre-knowledge of the involved parties.
The crudeness of both sets of drawings clearly shows that none of the men involved with the design of the Independence  and Kirtland Temples had architectural training. (p.9)
Joseph Smith had little formal schooling of any kind, although he probably learned about simple building practices by helping construct the family's frame house in Manchester. Sidney Rigdon was a former || Campbellite preacher and likewise lacked formal training in building. Frederick G. Williams ... was a physician. ... since the level of skill displayed in all the drawings is not high, William's building experience could not have been significantly greater than that of his colleagues in the presidency. (p.9; p.12)
In (p.12 Fn 8), Robison notes that Williams, placed in charge of the brickmaking at the French farm in April 1833, had at least a smattering of building knowledge. [= HC 1:336]

Robison then considers some of the shortcomings of the architectural sketch.
The windows in Williams's west elevation drawing (fig. 2-8) were drawn at the wrong height, as can be seen by the pinpricks that show through from the opposite side of the sheet. Instead of redrawing the sheet, Williams || merely corrected the mistake with a written note. (pp.12; 14)
William also gives the width of the plan as sixty-one feet, leaving a three-foot-thick wall around the fifty-five-foot wide interior specified in the revelation. This tremendously thick wall was reduced to approximately two feet when the Kirtland Temple was built, almost certainly under the advice of an experienced builder who recognized that such a thick wall was unnecessary. (p.14) 
[[The specification cited (= HC 1:363) specifies "make the wall a sufficient thickness for a house of this size", which is itself indicative of their confusion. RCK]]

In the specification (= HC 1:363), there is an overhead elliptical arch for the the ceiling mentioned. But that piece is missing in the plans.
More revealing of the inexperience of the temple's designers is the omission of space allotted for the elliptical barrel vaults, the arched ceiling to run the length of each story. Written specifications for the Independence Temple describe the vaults, but neither the scaled drawings nor the height measurements listed in the specifications take them into account. (p.14)
Because the house is divided into floors that sum perfectly to the total building's height, there is no room left for the second-floor girders and joists, "nor the elliptical arch set into the ceiling of the lower floor" (p.15). As a result, the builders had to jack up the height to the eaves of the roof from 28 to 45 feet for the Kirtland Temple. Assuming that the elliptical vaults took an extra four feet, and that one foot each was needed for the floor structure and the working space above the vaults, then a minimum of six feet per floor, or 12 feet more for the whole building was required (p.15) Adding those extra 12 feet to the design of the Independence Temple makes "the proportion of width to height of the Independence and Kirtland Temples ... very similar." (p.15)

[[Thus, any visual comparisons of the Mormon temples should always start with the Kirtland Temple, because the height of the Independence Temple was unimplementable as described, by at least twelve feet. RCK]]

The drawings prepared by Williams show one architectural feature that Williams erased himself, an extension of a thicker foundation walls above ground, called a water table. These assist in keeping the building from settling unevenly (p.15), and issue that the Temple is still struggling with (p.15). However, Williams drew them way too big---feet instead of inches---and negated any positive effect they could have had by the 3-ft walls (p.15).

Robison then points out ways in which the authors of the drawings tried to make them more sophisticated (p.16). The first, unsigned sets, exhibits light pencil trace lines used for laying out the outline. A template was used to draw the Gothic windows, given the absence of compass prick points. The second set has watercolor wash to indicate wall thickness and "accurately defines the number of glass panes in the windows" (p.16).

There is a dearth of stylistic specifications, limited to the Gothic tops on windows and doors. "The bell tower ... was merely mentioned on the drawings ...." (p.16) However, these omissions are due to the fact that in nineteenth century building plans, the involved parties understood what was desired, giving interpretation to phrases such as "in the best workmanlike manner" or "[building materials, RCK] of the best kind" (p.16).

Stylistic eclecticism was not uncommon in Ohio, and the Kirtland Temple is a fine specimen thereof.
The Kirtland Temple as it now stands is a mixture of Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Gothic elements. Although the dominant roof pediment and tower make it primarily Greek Revival in style, the temple has the tall, boxy proportions of an enlarged Federal house, not a classical Greek temple. The relatively thin moldings surrounding the windows also point to a Federal heritage, which was somewhat out of date in the mid-1830s. On the other hand, the quoins (stone blocks that articulate the corners) on the exterior and the carved ornament in the interior of the ground floor are primarily Georgian in derivation. (p.16)
This eclecticism was common for religious buildings as well.
The Presbyterian Church in Kinsman, Ohio (about 1832), for example, has Gothic windows on a building form that closely copies Asher Benjamin's design for the Old West Church in Boston. The Congregational Church in Atwater, Ohio (1837-41), displays Gothic windows on an otherwise Greek Revival structure. (p.17)
Though scholars have sometimes looked to Boston and New York churches that Joseph Smith Jr saw on trips as origins of inspiration, Robison argues that the use of Gothic windows on non-Gothic style churches was simply to common in the early nineteenth century Western Reserve to warrant such an inference (p.17)
Gothic windows were placed on churches in the United States on Canada because they were a cultural symbol for a church .... (p.17)
What does that mean for Joseph Smith Jr?
The specification of Gothic windows merely tells us that Joseph Smith and his associates shared a common culture with their contemporaries. (p.19) 
This use of shared vocabulary extends to the way Joseph Smith Jr couched the unusual aspects of the designs.
Joseph Smith also described the main volume of the structure---occupied by the two congregational spaces one on top of the other---in terms of traditional church design. Most contemporary churches had an entry vestibule that led into the main sanctuary, a feature also of the Independence Temple plans. In these church buildings, stairs at the sides of the vestibule led to an upper gallery, or balcony, which was above the sanctuary and supported on columns. Often these balconies were U-shaped, leaving a full double-height in the center of the room. However, the Independence Temple specifications stated, "There will not be a gallery but a chamber [in] each story to be 14 feet high arched over head with an eliptical arch [in] each of the stories." Joseph Smith and his counselors described the temple in terms of its divergence from well-known traditional forms. (p.19)
The setup for pulpits and pews, however, was decidedly non-traditional, and here the written specifications had to go into the greatest detail (p.19).
First, each end of the congregational spaces, or upper and lower courts as they are called in the revelation, has raised seating for twelve persons: three upper rows of three "stands" or pulpits, and a fourth (lower) row of three seats behind a "swing table" for the sacrament. In the corners of the room adjacent to these pulpits, additional raised seating provides space for choirs. (p.19)
These spaces had theological significance.
The rows of pulpits and seats at the west end were designated for the Higher, or Melchizedek, Priesthood, with the uppermost tier for "the president and his council" (Joseph Smith and his counselors, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams). The next tier of pulpits was for "the Bishop and his council" ... [Partridge or Whitney and their counselors, RCK] ... and the third tier was for the high priests. The lowest seats, those without pulpits, were for the elders. (p.19)
The situation was similar on the east end of the building, with the Lower or Aaronic Priesthood taking the place of the one of Melchizedek, again, going top to bottom, presidency before priests before teachers before deacons (p.19).

While each row was to be raised, the central pulpit was supposed to be higher than the flanking ones (p.19). In order to communicate this (p.19), the drawings for the Independence Temple specify the middle pulpit's increment to be 12 inches, while the flanking pulpits to be eight only (p.20). However, that rate was too high, making the highest pulpit 16 inches higher than the flanking ones, and thus requiring two steps to reach it, which was impossible, as the flanking pulpits left no room for steps (p.20).
Perhaps this unresolved problem led carpenters to dispense with making the making the central pulpit higher and to build all three pulpits in each row at the same elevation. (p.20)
At the same time, the decoration of the pulpits is glossed with "panel work", presumably because everyone knew what was intended (p.20).

Given that there were two sides from which instruction could come, the pews had to be reversible, which the designers solved with having benches that could be reversed in the pew box (p.20).
With these movable benches set in the pew boxes, congregants could face either the Melchizedek or Aaronic pulpits, depending upon who was officiating during the meeting. (p.20)
The instructions also specified that it should be possible to quarter the meeting room using veils, which required the pews to be aligned with the windows and there to be gaps between the lengthwise section (four inches) as well as the widthwise section (p.20). In addition, each quarter was supplied with a (p.20)  "gallery" (p.21) or passageway running front to back. Furthermore, the pulpits could be covered with veils, using hooks or a roller system described in Chapter 6. (p.21)

Robison then points that the combination of two spaces stacked on top of each other with pulpits at each ends poses significant lighting issues (p.21).
In traditional late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century American church interiors, a large window (usually a "Palladin motif" or "Venetian" window) was located behind the pulpit and altar to focus sight on that area of the church. (p.21)
This was done on the western side (p.21),  but the eastern side had the entrance (p.22), and thus required a different solution.
On the eastern end, the second floor is cut out above the vestibule, creating a second-floor balcony. Symmetrical staircases rise to the balcony from each side of the vestibule. (p.22)
Unfortunately, the vestibule walls now block the light, so the Presidency came up with a system of windows, one in the interior, one in the exterior wall, pass light into the meeting room. (p.22)
Light from the central facade window passes through to the interior windows behind the eastern pulpits, illuminating the eastern side of the main room. (p.22)
The solution is clearly described in the instructions provided by the Presidency.
In other words, the balcony on the second floor was not to block circulation in the vestibule; rather it was to be fitted with a railing and to leave enough floor area in the ten-foot-wide space to permit passage from one side to the other. (p.22)
The window and balcony arrangement in the vestibule is an original solution to an unusual spatial problem and indicates fairly complex three-dimensional thinking on the part of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams. (p.22)
[[I do not quite understand how that balconied U is any different from the balconied U in the meeting room, and why it could not be inspired from there. RCK]]

In summarizing his insights, Robison provides a very tight reading of the inscription on the Independence Temple plans, namely that "the size form and demisions [dimensions] of the house were GIVEN US OF THE LORD" (see letter from June 1st-25th, 1833) (p.22).
[This means that the Presidency felt, RCK] ... that everything else was their attempt to combine these defined elements into a functioning structure. These three men had a visual idea of what they wanted, but they knew neither how that idea should be implemented nor how various pieces should fit together. (p.22)
[[But that narrow reading helps nothing, because it is precisely the height measurement was off by at least 12 feet, due to the ignorance about the vault construction. In what sense then were the "size" and the "demisions" given to them by the Lord? RCK]

First Construction Campaign (Summer-Fall 1833)

D&C 95:3, received June 1st, 1833, chastised the Kirtland community for not getting on with the temple construction (p.27).
Construction of the temple began in earnest the following Monday, June 5, 1833, with Hyrum Smith and Reynolds Cahoon digging the trench for the foundation and Harry Stanley and George A. Smith hauling the first load of stone. (p.28)
[[Though Robison writes that Smith and Cahoon excavated the foundation by hand, the passage quoted [= HC 1:353] only speaks of the foundation trench. Are these the same things? RCK]]

By July 23, 1833, the foundation was excavated and the cornerstone ceremony could be celebrated (p.28). But they were as short on manpower as on tools and materials. It is estimated [= HC 1:366] that the church in Kirtland only had 150 members at the time.

The construction of the foundation walls progressed from Reynolds Cahoon and Jacob Bump, "a plasterer and carpetern from a Lake Erie harbor town in New York State" (p.28). The sandstone was hauled from Stannard's Quarry, a distance of two (p.28) miles from the building site (p.29). Here, the sandstone bed was exposed by a small stream running over it, and the Kirtland members were able to break out blocks with wedges along existing fracture lines (p.29).
Typical residential foundations in the 1830s had cut-stone or rubble-stone walls and extended into the soil below frost level---deeper if root cellars were to be located under the structure. (p.29)
Like these residential foundations, the Kirtland Temple foundation is formed of large cut-stone blocks to the outside, with rubblestone completing the thickness of the wall. However, the Kirtland Temple, more than ten times the volume of most residences and constructed of thick masonry walls, requires a far more substantial foundation than a residence. (p.29)
Thus, even though the walls were twice as thick as residential walls at 28 inches, no footing or flared base could spread the weight of the structure, resulting in the temple sinking by about 2 inches over the years, causing the walls to crack (p.29).

In a side-panel on page 31, Robison goes into detail on what the issues with foundations are. Proper foundations protect against leaning, rotation or cracks, which in turn can cause wood-rot or freeze-thaw action in the walls (p.31). Since the Kirtland members did not have the option of building on bedrock, the preferred solution, they could have used other load spreading techniques, for example "stepping out the foundation on each [brick RCK] course", and "laying stout timbers crosswise underneath the wall to spread out the weight" (p.31). The builders also did not realize that if the building was fully occupied, the soil stress increases to three times the recommended level. Furthermore, there was an additional layer of sandy soils "ten feet below the foundations" (p.31), which is not suitable for the construction of such structures. Thus, digging deeper than they did would have exasperated the situation.
As it currently stands, the Kirtland Temple is delicately balanced on insufficiently wide and insufficiently embedded foundations perched above a loose layer of soil. (p.31)
Robison then speculates about the rough-work girders, which he believes were placed by Bump and Cahoon, as they exhibit characteristics of relatively unskilled craftsmen (p.30).
The oak girders show a large number of knots; apparently no special effort was made to obtain timbers free from defects. The surface of the girders is roughly worked, showing a pockmarked pattern where chips of wood were crudely split off. Either the workers did not have an adze at their disposal, or they did not know how to wield one effectively. (p.30)
Given the rectangular cross-section (or scantling) of 9x12 inches of the beams used, the workers had two choices how to orient them, 12 inch horizontally or vertically oriented (p.30). The difference is important in terms of the static of the building; a vertical orientation of the beams nearly doubles the bending strength (p.30). However, residential builders preferred the horizontal orientation to give them a place to cut mortises, or joist pockets, directly into the beams (p.30).
However, with the building designed to house large public assemblies and with the span between support piers close to twenty-five feet, the horizontal orientation of support girders is woefully inadequate. (p.30)
After its completion, the temple regularly hosted meetings with about one thousand people in attendance. [= HC 2:410, RCK] Given the weakness of the girders supporting the floor of the lower court, the floor must have creaked and groaned during the services. (p.30)
Robison thinks that the members were lucky the floors did not break during the dedicatory service (p.32) and notes that later occupants did run into troubles, with the westernmost girder, that had a large defect in the wood, splitting and failing, the floor---probably saved by the thick floor boards---settling a few inches in mid-section (p.32). In 1883, timber props were added below the lower court beams (p.32).

Bricks are about 15% lighter than stone, which decreases the degree of settling (p.32). Both the Independence and the Kirtland Temple had been designed with bricks in mind (p.43 Fn 15) [= HC 1:361]. Beginning with April 2nd, 1833, Frederick G. Williams was put in charge of the brickyard on the recently purchased French farm [= HC 1:336] (p.32), and the laborers worked until September 25, 1833, where the dearth of the output of usable bricks caused the effort to be abandoned (p.32).
As a consequence, when the stone foundation was completed in October, no materials were available to continue work, and the building site was abandoned until spring. (p.33)
Robison estimates (p.43 Fn 18) that for a temple with twenty-four inch thick walls of the dimensions of the Kirtland temple, about 35,000 bricks would have been needed. The inability of the community to produce their own bricks must have been a blow, because they had expended so much effort on it and had no resources to buy the bricks locally.
This materials crisis was most likely solved by Artemus Millett, a builder of mills, chimneys, and foundations from Ontario, Canada. Apparently on the recommendation of Brigham Young, who had converted Millett in January 1833, Joseph Smith requested that Millett come down to Kirtland to work on the temple. Fortunately for the Saints, Millett had large-scale building experience: he had built a brewery in New York State around 1825 and two three-story flour mills in Canada in 1830.
[[For a recent article on Artemus Millett, see Erekson & Newell BYU Studies (2002) and the problems of the source situation regarding his biography RCK]]

Artemus Millett came in October of 1833, found the work suspended, made some recommendations, and then returned to Canada to settle his debts, gather up his family and move to Kirtland on a permanent basis in April of 1834 (p.33). [[Robison's sketch is actually to vague to suss this chronology out; this was complemented by Erekson & Newell, (p.79) RCK]]
His contribution during his short stay was the suggestion to use rubblestone walls covered with a stucco finish in place of brick. (p.33)
This was a technique that Millett was familiar with from Canada, where it was common in Ontario and Quebec (p.33); the popularity may be a colonial influence from the English and French popularity of rubble-walled buildings (p.33).
During the early nineteenth century, buildings of rubble construction in the United States were quite rare, primarily because wood framing was so inexpensive in contrast with solid masonry walls. (p.33)
Robison speculates whether the quoin design in Kirtland was inspired by the Madison Barracks (1816-1819), raised in an area that Millett worked in after the War of 1812 (p.34).

Millett probably used stone from the Russell Quarry, where the stream washes over a sandstone stratum, making the stone soft while breaking it and hard as it dries on land (p.34).

Millett effectively inherited the construction site. When he arrived in October 1833, all he saw was the foundation work (p.34): "[an] excavation four to five feet deep, with the stone foundation wall completed and probably at least some of the floor girders in place" (p.35). Millett had no way of ascertaining the quality of the foundation work done; he could not have easily criticized the work had he noticed any problems; and he may not have had the right expertise to spot inadequacies (p.35).
The second challenge facing Millett was the spacing of piers and windows. Once foundations are built, they are not easily moved. ... Of course, since the dimensions of the structure were determined by revelation, the foundation walls could not be moved for theological reasons either. (p.35)
The issue at hand though was the relationship between the interior columns and the horizontal girders.
Most critical for Millett, the foundation walls and masonry piers determined the location of the interior columns and girders. Interior columns should be located between the windows so the girders (the main horizontal supports) that run between the columns and outside walls are supported on the exterior by solid masonry and are not immediately above a window. (p.35)
However, the foundation trench was begun before the window positioning had been sorted out (p.35). Robison points out that the original Independence drawing had 5 Gothic windows; the revised 9; and the Kirtland temple ended up with 6 (p.43 Fn 25).
The difficulty for Millett ... was to create a regular exterior shell around an irregular internal structure. (p.35)
The problem was the vestibule, which snipped off about ten feet from the building and required to have the first line of piers there, esp given the tower above (p.35). A normal approach would have been to continue in 10 foot increments with the piers down the length of the courtyards, thus giving each window a ten foot zone and a even windowed looked from the outside (p.35). But the courtyards were only 65 feet long (p.35).
Rather than building the piers at five even intervals of thirteen feet, builders varied bay spacing across the building. ... Starting at the east end, bay spacings begin with the required ten feet in the vestibule, then jump up to just over twelve feet || in the courts and gradually lengthen as they approach the westernmost bay, with a maximum spacing of about fourteen feet, measured center to center. This irregular spacing creates a variety of problems, indicating that the builders who determined the bay spacing were unaware of its effect on the upper wall. (p.35; p.39)
Columns and girders manage to miss the windows on the western half of the building, but unfortunately, the narrower bay spacing causes the easternmost girders (set into the vestibule wall) to frame into the masonry directly above a window. Although about eight feet of masonry separated the girder and the window opening (allowing the pressure of the girder load to spread out along the wall), stacking the girder and window puts unnecessary stress on the arch above the window. (p.39)
Also, as the drawings by Verdon W. Upham (Library of Congress, March 1934) show, esp. the plan of the lower and the upper court (pp.36-37), the vestibule wall cuts through the eastern-most window (p.39), and the raised choir seats equally interfered with the window (p.39). The uneven spacing of the joists---between twelve feet, center to center, at the east end, and fourteen feet, at the west end---causes a 20% difference in the bending stress (p.40).

One final piece of evidence for lack of coordination between the design of the foundations and the design of the upper sections is the fact that the middle masonry pier designed to support the vestibule wall could not received a pillar, because there was the middle window in the masonry wall [cf. (p.22) RCK] for light passage into the upper courtyard which the pillar would have bisected (p.40).
However, just as Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams were unable to anticipate the effect elliptical vaults in the ceiling would have on the total height of the structure, the builders who placed the foundations either did not understand the interrelationship between the foundation and the supporting walls and columns, or more likely, did not have the design explained to them in sufficient detail to avoid such errors. (p.40)
Millett probably only stayed a few weeks, given the constraints of the icing over of the ports, the large number of masons working for him Ontario, and his desire to move to Kirtland (p.42). Thus, the community in Kirtland focused on stockpiling stone and seasoning timbers for the next building campaign, the work site remaining inactive until Millett's return April 1834 (p.42).

Finishing Walls & Roof (1834-1835)

In April 1834, Artemus Millett returned to Kirtland on what was probably one of that spring's first schooners to pass through the thawing waters of Lake Erie. (p.45)
Unfortunately, Kirtland was getting ready to send off Zion's Camp (p.45), which was taking up the energies of Smith & Rigdon as well as the local workforce (p.45). According to Joseph Smith's diary [= HC 2:50, RCK], there was only one meeting in April where they had time to discuss the temple (p.45).  Sure, Millett was busy getting himself settled in (p.46), but when the Camp left Kirtland on May 1st, 1834, it consisted of 130 men, and only about ten to fifteen men remained behind (p.46).

[[This seems to be the solution of the apparent inconsistency between a thousand people attending the dedication of the temple (p.30) (p.32), and only ~150 grown up males being available for tasks like the Zion Camp or the temple building. RCK]]

Fortunately for Millett, Jacob Bump, who had worked on the foundation and would go on to do much of the woodwork, remained in Kirtland (p.46). Progress was slow, the crew raising the wall only four feet over the summer.
But even this small step would have eliminated any possibility of design revision. Any work above the foundation would locate window and door openings with finality and determine the width of the walls. (p.46)
Millett himself was probably occupied with carving the stone quoins, the lintels and the architraves that encased the windows and doors. (p.46)
The remainder of the crew probably mixed the mortar, roughly shaped and placed the stone, and prepared scaffolding. (p.46)
Robison assumes that just not much stone was stockpiled during the winter (p.47); if the crew had to haul stone in addition to doing masonry work, that would explain the slow pace (pp.46-47). Women had already contributed in stereotypical patterns of labor division for the temple---Heber C. Kimball's wife spun a hundred pounds of wool to make clothes for the workers---but the lack of stones lead to some breaking of the boundaries; at least one woman drove two yokes of cattle to haul rock (p.47).

Not only was there fewer laborers, Rigdon was the only member of the Presidency available to ask about the design of the building (p.47). For example, the raised elliptical panels on the doors are a Canadian twist (p.47), and do not match Williams' drawings (p.48). Millett also replaced the Gothic arches over the door with elliptical arches (p.48)
This decision remedied the awkwardness of the pointed Gothic arches above the wide doors and even wider "Venetian" windows without radically altering the existing design. (p.48)
Most of these decisions regarding the form of the doors, the width of the masonry openings for the doors, and the location of the windows were made during the summer when Joseph Smith and the main body of the Mormon workforce were absent from Kirtland. (p.48)
With the Zion camp back in the summer of 1834, substantial progress was now possible. Joseph Smith participated in the quarrying of stone [= Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 10:165, April 6, 1863, RCK] as a foreman [= HC 2:161] as often as possible (p.49). Robison estimated that about 500 tons had been needed for the foundation, and another 1000 tons to finish the building; so quarrying and hauling were key tasks during the fall of 1834 (p.49).

Because the church members had little money, they needed to do without cranes and pulleys, most likely.
The use of cranes could be avoided by employing large numbers of workers for lifting and by using each floor as a staging area for the next higher floor. (p.49)
... placement of the main girders supporting the upper court floor would have required many workers and ropes. The fifty-five-foot girders weigh just over one ton and would require about fifteen men lifting approximately 150 lbs each to maneuver the girders around the site. These girders had to be lifted twenty-two feet from floor to floor, thus the need for temporary staging for workers and levers. Manpower did not require "hard money" as did equipment, and the lumber used for staging could be reused in other areas. (p.49)
Additional safety could be provided by tying ropes to each end of the girder and passing them over the top of the masonry wall. Draft animals on the ground could hold the girder in place using the friction of the rope as it passed over the wall as a safety brake. (p.49)
Scaffolding was usually constructed of long vertical poles that were too thing to turn into usable planking. These poles were lashed together level by level as needed. Of all the construction site dangers, scaffolding presented the greatest to the workers, as Millett himself well knew; he had previously experienced several accidents involving falling from a building or being struck by stones dropped by a co-worker from the scaffolding, .... (p.49)
There were only a few accidents recorded for the construction, but Father Fisher fell from the scaffold and ended up "disabled for performing manual labor" (p.50); Artemus Millet fell from the temple top onto a pile of rock, breaking his shoulder blade, leaving a permanent hump on that side (p.50).

Given that the church members were ready to tackle the roof in February 1835, the walls must have reached the upper court by about November 1834; and the girders supporting the "attic office on the top of the masonry wall would have been placed in January or February" (p.50). The fact that the upper and lower sets of girders exhibit "unusual differences" (p.50) suggests that the construction personnel was not stable, possibly due to mission calls (p.50).
In contrast to the roughly finished girders supporting the lower-court floor (see chapter 3 [= (pp.30ff) RCK]), the girders supporting the upper-court and attic-office levels are more skillfully worked and are oriented properly. These girders were more carefully selected for freedom from defects, an important factor that can make timbers twice as strong as those with many knots and checks. The upper girders are more carefully adzed and have depths that average between 13.5 and 14 inches as opposed to the 9-inch depths on the lower girders. (p.51)
This was a key difference, structurally (p.51).
Although the depths of the girders supporting the two courts differ only by a few inches, the strength of a rectangular beam is proportional to the cube of its depth, meaning that just a few inches (or fractions of inches) can result in significantly different strengths. Selected and hewn under Millett's supervision, the girders supporting the upper-court floor demonstrate his good intuitive feel for structure. (p.51)
They also reflected his plus of skill and experience compared to Bump and Cahoon (p.51).

Millett equally showed his skill by opting for the more complicated and bothersome continuous girders for the upper floor, requiring beams of 55 foot length that had to be manipulated as one large object (p.51). Given two columns of support, these beams resulted in spans of fifteen, twenty five and fifteen feet, but with a superior capability to carry the expected loads (p.51).
Continuous girders resist bending not only at the center of the span, but also at the supports. This resistance spreads the bending stresses across a greater portion of the girder, thereby increasing the load it can safely carry. In addition, the upper girders are fitted at the interior supports with knee braces that significantly || reduce the high stresses in the girders. These factors bring the girders very close to modern code requirements. (p.52)
Robison then gives a three-page excursion on the techniques of mortises and tenons in the early 19th century and their impact on the structural stability of the building (pp.52-54). The key take-aways are that builders used joists to space the girders, and then notched the girders in some fashion with mortises to hook in the joists, into which tenons had been cut (p.52). Holes drilled into the tenons allowed to fix these with polygonal pegs (p.52). The problem is that the notches weaken the girders structurally, especially at the intermediate supports, for which no allowance was made in the case of the lower and upper floor supports (p.52).
[The, RCK] ... reduction in the cross section of the joist at the connection creates high stresses in the joist at the bottom of the tenon. Several joists in the temple have "failed" by splitting along the length of the || joist from tenon base to tenon base. (pp.52-53)
The solution of notching and holing for the upper floor joists is even more problematic, because the three-inch tenon is "woefully inadequate to transfer the weight born by the joist to the girder" (p.53) but the use of the upper floor, and the weight-spreading effect of the pews, has reduced this issue (p.53).  The attic-office uses a better mortises system, but the wood shrinkage has popped some of the joists out of their shallow slots, and the wider spacing---36 instead of 18 inches---doubles the load on the joists and weakens the structural support (p.54).

Robison then turns his attention to the Attic, which came about as a side effect of the placing of the roof (p.55).
Begun in February 1835, the roof structure uses a variation of the king-post truss and is from the same wood species, probably black walnut, that is used in the timbers in the lower court. Coinciding with the bays of the supporting columns, the trusses are contained in the walls that divide the attic into five separate offices. (p.55) 
Although not mentioned in the specifications for the Independence Temple, the attic offices take advantage of the considerable space under the roof and between the roof trusses. No corridor joins the offices; rather one has to walk through each of the offices in turn to access the westernmost office. (p.55)
This approach maximizes floor space and light in the rooms and was unanticipated in its size and accommodative capacity.
The five large attic offices provided more than adequate space for the relatively small Church leadership, and plans for a separate structure for printing and other office functions were dropped (see D&C 94). (p.55)
The lighting of the offices was solved as follows:
The outer offices are light by dormers. To help light the central offices when the doors between offices are closed, windows are fit between the diagonals of the roof trusses (as are the doors). Because of the manner the doorways and windows communicate between the rooms, the heavy structural members that support the roof are inconspicuous. (p.55)  
With the roof and the walls in place, Millett headed back to Canada to finish collecting on debts and selling the last bits of property (p.56). Upon his return, he supported the temple construction process as much as his bad leg would support (p.56).

The more the temple progressed, the more incensed the Kirtland non-Mormon community became (p.56). Possibly encouraged by the success of the Missourians to evict the Mormons, possibly worried about the Mormons staying for good, having lost their Missourian toe-hold; either way, threats began to roll in (p.56). The Mormons found themselves sleeping with their firelocks in their arms. (p.57)

Bibliographic Record

Elwin C. Robison, The First Mormon Temple: Design, Construction and Historic Context of the Kirtland Temple, Provo UT (Brigham Young University Press), 1997.

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