Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mark Hamilton on 19th Century Mormon Architecture & City Planning


Hamilton points out that the LDS established a total of 500 hundred settlements between 1830 and 1899 (p.v). 
Zion and its establishment was the driving force behind Mormonism. If also formed the basis for Mormon city planning and building types. The early material experiments in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, and influx of converts from Europe influenced subsequent communities and architectural forms in Utah and elsewhere. A knowledge of the doctrinal concept of Zion and is application is the key to understanding nineteenth-century Mormon material culture. (p.v)
Hamilton sees this work as the continuation of his master thesis (1972) and his doctoral dissertation (1978) (

Historical Context

Hamilton claims that Chicago, IL already outstripped Nauvoo, IL, in 1845---"in less than six years" (p.6) after May 1st, 1839, purchase of 135 at the old site of Commerce, IL---with a population of 12,088 versus 11,057 (p.7). Hamilton believes that Joseph Smith Jr's refusal to direct the saints in their voting was what was problematic for the politicians in Illinois, given their rapid growth (p.7). 
In the wake of the exodus [of February 1846, RCK], Nauvoo was a virtually deserted city (1,141 by 1850), one that once rivaled Chicago in size and population and had exceeded that city in beauty and order. (p.10)

Zion and Mormon City Planning

Joseph Smith interpreted Zion as more than a state of mind or way of life; he also saw in it a geographical location. He stated that the Americas in general were blessed above all other lands, with the United States being most blessed among them. (p.14) [= D&C 133,1-35, though the interpretation is weak, taking islands as continents, RCK]
In (p.146 Fn 7), Hamilton argues that the Colonial New England antecedents should not be termed "villages" at all, but rather "town" or "city". In discussing the reluctance of the majority of the Saints to move to Jackson County, and the readiness of the Colesville branch [which actually had no place to go, having been evicted from the Copley farm, RCK] to go, Hamilton cites (p.146 Fn 6) the Newel Knight's Journal, Scraps of Biography, Salt Lake City (Juvenile Instructor Office), 1883, esp. pp.69-70.

When Hamilton cites HC 1,357-359 [see also the plat explanation in the papers, RCK], both for the general plat and for the central three blocks, and then writes:
The plan for Zion had a central ecclesiastical, public and commercial area surrounded by symmetrically arranged blocks composed of single-family dwellings. (p.16)
[[This is overstating the commercial aspect insofar as the only commercial dwelling there is the Bishop's storehouse, which was a general store of course---see the Gilbert store in Missouri and the Whitney store in Kirtland---but not truly a commercial district. RCK]]

Hamilton then cites Charles L. Sellers as giving the best summary of the plan's provisions (p.17):

  • "The city was to be divided into a square grid pattern.
  • Central blocks were reserved for ecclesiastical buildings.
  • Specific blocks were reserved for public buildings---storehouses, schools and parks.
  • The city was divided into ecclesiastical districts called wards resulting in the possible creation of social units or neighborhoods.
  • Individual family lots were regulated relative to the siting of the dwellings and the enhancement of the community.
  • The farmers and ranchers lived within the boundaries of the city in order to be part of the larger community.
  • An agricultural greenbelt was to be created.
  • Barns, corrals, and heavy industry were to be located on the periphery of the city." (p.17)
[[In this representation, one has to challenge the notion that any mention of heavy industry is made it all. In addition, there is a complete absence of workshops beyond those in the gardens of the houses, and there is no story on how the transportation is supposed to work. RCK]]

Then the revised plat was made, which made the following changes (pp.17-18).
  1. "The revised plat was one and a half times greater in area than the original plat. It increased the total area from 1 to 1.5 square miles." (p.17) from 6006 x 5676 ft to 9092 x 8349 ft (p.18).
  2. "The revised plat has nearly three times as many half-acre family building lots." (p.18) from 968 half-acre lots to 2,600 half-acre lots (p.18)
  3. "One of three center blocks reserved for storehouses and schools was eliminated." (p.18) This was the bishop's block, leaving just the two temple blocks. (p.18) Hamilton states that "The proposed temples were designed to be multipurpose buildings. They were schools as well as meetinghouses." (p.18)
  4. "The two remaining center blocks were reduced in size from fifteen to ten acres." (p.18)
  5. "The change from rectangular to square center blocks created a uniform grid pattern." (p.18)
  6. "The axial direction of the temple blocks was changed from a north-south to an east-west orientation." (p.18)
  7. "The uniform street width of the original plat was applied only to the four major cross-axis avenues. The width of the other streets was reduced to 82.5 feet." (p.18) This meant that 15 132-foot-wide streets became 4 132-foot-wide streets, creating 21 82.5-foot-wide streets in the process. (p.18)
  8. "Only the streets on the revised plat were given either names or numerical designations. For example, the major cross-axis avenues were given specific names, such as New Jerusalem or Zion; the other streets were numbered First or Second North, First or Second South, etc." (p.18)
  9. "There was a significant decrease in the projected average family size. (The comparison is based on Joseph Smith's population projects of 15,000 to 20,000 for the City of Zion.) (p.18) As Hamilton shows, given the number of family building lots, the 15,000 to 20,000 city would have had an average family size of 15.5 to 20.7 in the first plat, but the more realistic 5.8 to 7.7 family size with the revised plat. (p.19)
Hamilton notes that Bishop Partridge was responsible for purchasing lands, platting them and distributing them as inheritances; while Oliver Cowdery had been asked to assist in the laying out (p.19). When Cowdery traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, in late July / early August 1833, he learned of the revised plat [he may even have helped to revise it, RCK] and warned the Zion Saints in an undated letter that a better plat was on its way (p.19), since the other one had been drawn in too great a haste. 

Sometime in August 1833, Partridge received the plat from Kirtland and began to make modifications to them, proposing these changes to Joseph Smith in a letter (p.19). 
Because the plat had been changed, and because of the nature of Cowdery's remarks, Edward Partridge felt that had the freedom to alter the plat even further. He then adjusted the center blocks and the position of the temples to suit the actual site location. (p.19)
[[Partridge argued this freedom to adjust the plat on both aesthetical and grounds of authority.
Thinking perhaps that their arrangement [i.e. of the squares and the buildings, RCK] was not by revelation, and also that you had not seen them platted out has induced me to plat them this way for your view & reflect upon. (p.19)

[[Partridge was mistaken, in their letter from June 1st-25th, 1833, the First Presidency had explicitly stated that the plat for Zion was given from God:
NB For your satisfaction we inform you that the plot for the City and the size form and dime[n]sions of the house were given us of the Lord.

Hamilton then analyzes the adjustments made (p.19).
Partridge changed the axial direction of the temple blocks from a north-south to an east-west orientation and rearranged the complex of temples into horizontal and vertical rows of three or four per block. (p.19)
Hamilton then points out that another plat was drafted by Frederick G. Williams, left in an incomplete state, which "appears to be a compromise between the original and the revised plat" (p.20). It follows the first plat with " the central range of rectangular blocks and uniform street widths" (p.20), but it only specifies two ecclesiastical, which coincides with the revised edition. Hamilton believes however that the incomplete Williams plan influenced the plating of the other cities (p.20).

Hamilton gives a brief overview of Kirtland, the plat for which he justifies with the reluctance for departure, the fading hopes for Missouri, and the continuous influx of Mormon settlers (p.20).
The plat was probably prepared at the same time as the revised plat for the City of Zion and was similar in form. Both shared a two-block central arrangement, street designations, and overall square grid pattern. However, Kirtland did not include the center axial avenues, or the variation in street width found in the revised plat. The probable reason for the difference in the street widths had to do with the existing layout of Kirtland. (p.20)
Hamilton then turns to Far West, Missouri (p.20). The plat was yet another compromise on the proposed plats.
When surveyed, the plat [of Far West, Missouri, RCK] encompassed an area of a square mile or 640 acres (the same amount of land that Smith had proposed in his original plat for the City of Zion). In general, the plat followed the square grid pattern of the revised plat and specifically utilized the same street patterns and street widths. (p.20)
But there were departures, specifically with respect to the town center, and with overall block size.
However, it had only one central temple block and each block was 4 acres, not 10, in size. (p.20)
[[What is missing from that description is that the center square as an era of commerce was completely re-designed, possibly by inspiration from the way Missouri county seats were organized. Furthermore, there are two Far West plats that need discussion. RCK]]

The eviction from Missouri was a big deal, and Joseph Smith Jr tried to pucker up his followers by two missives from his incarceration, one sent December 5th, 1833 [= HC, 1:449-51, RCK], the other December 10th, 1833 [= HC 1:453-56, RCK] (p.21), which talked about the return to Zion and its redemption, though he admitted in the 2nd letter "but how many will be the days of her purification, tribulation and affliction, the Lord has kept hid from my eyes" (p.21).

Hamilton points out the difference between the quality of the land of Commerce and the Hebrew name used for it by the Mormons (p.22).
The name, however, did not reveal that Nauvoo was built on a less-than-desirable piece of real estate.  The site largely consisted of swampy bottomlands known for malaria, that would later translate into a higher-than-average death rate among the Saints. The task of draining the site was made more difficult because of the heavy stands of trees and thick growth of shrubs and underbrush. (p.22)
Hamilton admits:
The reasons why Joseph Smith chose the site are not fully known, but the financial conditions of the sale appeared correct. There was sufficient flat land for a new city, and the Saints were desperately in need of a new gathering place, .... Many thousands of Saints would head their prophet's call and work together to transform the swampland into a thriving city. (p.22)
Hamilton uses the Gustavus Hill plat from 1842 to compare the prescribed grid patterns for Independence and Far West to the Nauvoo plat (p.22).

Maybe most interesting:
There was no provision for a public area or temple block in the Nauvoo plat. Each square block was 4 rather than 10 ares in size [just like Far West, RCK]; and each block was divided into 1-acre lots, compared to 20 half-acre lots. The actual size of each block was probably determined more by preexisting survey of the area than any of Smith's proposal. (p.22)
Furthermore, that division turned out to be suboptimal to handle the financial difficulties of the Saints after the land purchase.
The number of lots per 4-acre block was later increased; the money from the sale of each lot was to help pay for the debt incurred in the initial land purchase. (p.22)
At Nauvoo, the needs for commerce were taking into consideration in the way the street widths were handled.
All streets were to be 3 rods wide (49.5 feet), except for Main and Water streets. The reason for the discrepancy in street size was to allow for expansion, including a possible commercial district. Water Street, at 64 feet, was to have been a canal for commercial boat traffic from the || Mississippi River. Main Street, at 87 feet, was intended to be the primary commercial street. The presence of the two wider streets, and their position as the focal point of the community, reflect the influence of the main axial streets proposed for Independence and Far West. (pp.23-23)  
Hamilton sees the finger of Smith's involvement in the platting in the fact that his original homestead was right at that key intersection of Water and Main.
Joseph Smith's original homestead, the Mansion House, and the Nauvoo House (a hotel) stood strategically at the intersection of Main and Water Streets. The location of his houses and business enterprises indicate his direct role in the platting of Nauvoo. (p.23)
The commercial focus of Nauvoo, however, developed differently [[as discussed in the interactions with William and Wilson Law, RCK]].
The commercial center of Main and Water streets did not materialize as originally proposed. However, the location of the site for the Nauvoo Temple on the bluff, or "top lands", overlooking the residential area to the west, changed the focal point of the community, and Mulholland Street, which extended eastward from the temple block on the top lands, soon became the center of commercial activity. [= HC 4:185-186, RCK] Even with this development, a good number of individually owned stores, shops, and home industries were located on the family lots below the bluff. (p.23)
[[More information is needed on how the Mulholland development played out. If there was commercial development there before the Temple Announcement in August 1840, then the claim that the temple shifted the focus to Mulholland is silly. RCK]]

The plan to build the temple was announced in August 1840, a form of community commitment (p.23).
In keeping with the sanctity of the temple, the people were encouraged to take greater care of their dwellings and yards, realizing that their land was a place of righteous inheritance. An individual plot of ground was viewed as an integral part of the larger concept of "sacred space". (p.23)
Hamilton points to Ebenezer Robinson's exhortation in the February 1st, 1842 edition of the Times and Seasons, [under Horticulture, p.678, RCK] to replicate the vistas of Eden through "fruit trees, shrubbery, vines" as well as "peach and mulberry trees" and "current, raspberry and gooseberry bushes" (p.23).
It was President Smith's desire to make Nauvoo a showpiece and to let it stand as a physical manifestation to the validity of Mormonism. (p.24)
Hamilton speculates that the British immigrants especially were "better educated and skilled than where their American and Canadian counterparts", thus: "Their presence did much to promote a more cosmopolitan and literate society." (p.24) Hamilton admits in (p.148 Fn 27) that Richard L. Jensen opposed that view in his Transplanted to Zion, BYU Studies 31 (Winter 1991), arguing that the British influence did not begin until their arrival in the Great Basin region.

Hamilton points out (pp.148f Fn 29) that Smith Jr was impressed with the beauty of the Rock Mountains [= HC 5,86]. Cf also the recollections of Anson Call, July 14th, 1843. Wilford Woodruff recalled that Smith Jr had first talked to the Saints about the Rocky Mountains on April 25th, 1834 [= LDS Conference Report, April 8, 1898]. In 1843 the thought of moving west was investigated, with expeditions sent to Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas and California to locate sites for colonies [= Millennial Star, 26:327-328; HC 5:542-49 and 6:255-257]. Joseph & Hyrum Smith, together with Willard Richards and the Council of the Twelve, were looking for a Rocky Mountain refuge on the early morning of June 23, 1844, but turned back when entreated by Emma Smith and other Saints [= HC 7:78-91]. It is assumed that Smith Jr knew this would mean his death.

For the remainder of the chapter, Hamilton then turns to the problem of Zion and Mormon City planning in Utah from 1846-1900, which is outside my time horizon of interest.


The temple has been important in Judeo-Christian tradition since the time of Solomon. (p33).
[[It is debatable whether the Christian church fulfills the same role as the OT temple does. Hamilton clearly thinks that temples "stand as a physical representation of God's earthly presence, in the sense of medieval Gothic cathedrals" (p.33); so for him the continuity is palpable. RCK]]

Clearly Nephi built a temple in the style of Solomon in the Book Of Mormon [= 2 Nephi 5:16] (p.33). [[Which is ignorant of OT theology, because the whole point of the temple of Solomon is that it cannot be replaced by a temple located anywhere other than Zion. RCK]]

Hamilton correctly points out that temples are not public places of worship like a Christian church; that is the role of tabernacles and meetinghouses in Mormon theology (p.33).
Instead, temples provide space for giving the sacred instructions and ordinances necessary to prepare individuals to return to the presence of God. (p.33)
Hamilton provides additional clues to the status of endowments by pointing to church history (p.167 Fn 2). The term occurs first in D&C 124:39, given January 19th, 1841. It was over year later that Joseph Smith Jr gave the first instructions regarding endowments to other church leaders.
The first instructions pertaining to the endowments were given by Joseph Smith to Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Newel K. Whitney, George Miller, and James Adams in the spring of 1842. The meeting was held in the president's private office (the Council Room) on the second floor of his store. [= HC 5:1-2] (p.167 Fn 2) 
Hamilton reviews the history of temples in the revelations (p.34). In D&C 36:8, given in Fayette, NY, in December 1830, Jesus Christ states that he will be coming to his temple suddenly (so the Saints should be ready).  In the Kirtland revelation D&C 57:3 [not 53:3, as Hamilton accidentally writes, RCK], the location of the temple westward of Independence is established (p.34). By June of 1833, when the First Presidency was sending the plans for the Zion plat to Missouri, they also included the first plans for the temple.
The temple design lacked any real sense of style or historicism. It was little more than a vernacular two-story, rectangular meeting hall. There were no architects or builders among the Missouri Saints with sufficient training or experience to build a more refined structure than the one proposed. (p.36)
In (p.151 Fn 9) Hamilton points out that Dr Frederick G. Williams had performed the elevation drawings for the Temple of Zion and the revised plat for the City of Zion.

With the Missouri difficulties obliterating any near-time chances for a temple in Zion, the Saints focused their efforts on a temple in Kirtland (p.37); on July 23rd, 1833, the cornerstones for the Kirtland Temple were laid (p.37). Specifics of the Kirtland temple's design were received in D&C 95:13-17.
The need for the temple had become imperative. According to Mormon belief, many sacred "keys" or rites of the priesthood or divine authority had yet to be restored to the earth. These keys, they believed, would be restored through the instrumentality of heavenly messengers and be received in a temple. (p.37)
From 1833 to 1836, the Saints worked on the temple.
No plans or drawings of the building survive, but the exterior appearance bears some resemblance to the temple proposed for Zion---two and a half stories and two interior courts that were reached from a vestibule entrance. (p.37)
Hamilton points to the Congregational Church at Atwater (1837-1841) as an example of a similar project that exhibited "a mixture of Georgian, Federal, Greek, and Gothic elements" (p.38) and reminds us that this mix and match approach was typical and that pattern books provided the underpinnings. (p.38)

A New Hampshire mason, who was working in Ontario when Brigham Young converted him to Mormonism, came to Kirtland in April 1834 upon Smith's request and had "full superintendency of the building" (p.38). The material was sandstone quarried from nearby, and the exterior was stuccoed in crushed glass and chinaware on the outside, and painted with lines to simulate "dressed and evenly coursed stone" (p.38).
The interior arrangement of double courts and multitiered pulpits at each end, was undoubtedly derived from the proposed temple in Independence. The vestibule entrance with its two corner staircases is a thing of beauty, enhanced by light from the large, centrally placed Federal-style window. The landing of the second floor was purposefully designed with an open front, or balcony to allow light from the window to illuminate both stories of the vestibule and the two interior courts. (p.38)
The classical aspects of the building are most noticeable on the interior. Vaulted ceilings of both courts are supported by fluted piers of the Doric order capped by an Ionic frieze and architrave. A dentiled Ionic cornice forms the base of the elliptical vault in the lower court. The classical motifs---guilloche, egg and dart, bead and lozenge---in the lower court undoubtedly came from the late eighteenth-century volume Practical House Carpenter (London 1789) by William Pain, or its American counterpart, American Builder's Companion (Boston, 1806) by Asher Benjamin.

Jacob Bump, a carpenter from Silver Creek, NY, was responsible for the implementation of the lower court (p.38), including the decorative work, e.g. on the West window.
Design inconsistencies can be seen in the building. The easternmost windows of the north and the south elevations are bisected by the wall, separating the vestibule from the courts. And the interior pier-supports do not correspond to the window bays, a support system that probably accounts for the corresponding misalignment of the dormers to the windows. (p.39)
As far as pulpits and pews were concerned, the arrangement followed the Zion plan.
The ecclesiastical order of the pulpits and the arrangement of the pews followed that prescribed in the original plan for the Temple of Zion. The pews on the floor of the first court could be reversed to face either pulpit. Natural light filtered from the arched windows above each pulpit and from the five window bays of the side elevations. The lower court was used for general church meetings and assemblies, while the upper court and attic floor were used for priesthood councils, educational purposes, and giving sacred instructions. (p.39)
Unfortunately, the Saints had to leave Ohio for Missouri only a few months after the completion of the Kirtland Temple (p.39).

Once the Saints had found a save haven in Nauvoo (p.40), they could construct a new temple to receive the full temple ordinances or "endowments", which Hamilton cites Brigham Young to define as follows:
Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord [temple], which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood [Mechizedek Priesthood], and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. (p.40) [= JD 2:31]
For the Nauvoo temple, "a singular Greek Revival" style was chosen, for which Hamilton attributes the influence to Smith, who had chosen the plans of William Weeks from among the membership, because it "came closest in design to what Smith had seen in a vision" (p.40). [cf Arrington, William Weeks, BYU Studies 19 (Spring 1979), p.340, RCK] [cf HC 5:353] Weeks hailed from Martha's Vineyard, MA, and had trained as carpenter with his father before building in the Greek Revival Style in the South with his brother Arwin (p.40). Converted by Mormon missionaries (p.40), he arrived in Nauvoo in 1840 (p.41).
His [i.e. William Weeks, RCK] design for the Nauvoo Temple promised a significantly more impressive structure than either of the previous temples. Except for a massive tower in the style of James Gibbs, Weeks's rendering of the Nauvoo Temple resembles a peripteral Greek Revival-style temple. (p.41)
Of course, the Prophet, backed up by his vision, retained final say, and forced changes against all architectural convention, such as round windows [= HC 6:196-7] (p.41).
The interior arrangement for the Nauvoo Temple was derived from the pattern proposed for the Temple of Zion, and built interior of the Kirtland Temple. It exhibited two interior courts, end-pulpits, and a functioning attic story that was accessed by a spacious two-story vestibule. (p.41)
One improvement over Kirtland was the way that administrative offices had been slotted into an area that had existed in the Kirtland temple but been too small to accommodate them.
The half-story administrative offices above the side aisles of each court were unique to the Nauvoo Temple. The round windows and high elliptical vaults in the courts provide light and extra height for the offices. A similar area exists in the Kirtland Temple, but it lacks sufficient height and outside windows to accommodate such offices. (p.41)
Similar design modifications were undertaking with respect to the tower, which lost its massive Gibbsian structure (p.41).
The Prophet asked Weeks to change the triangular pediment of the facade to a rectilinear service area for the cross-axial arrangement of the rooms in the attic story. This probably was done in anticipation of this area becoming the facility for the endowment service. (p.42)
The temple was destroyed by fire in 1846, and the remnants by a tornado in 1850. The surviving two-story vestibule was take down and the stone reused. (p.42)

For the remainder of the chapter, Hamilton then turns to the problem of temples in Utah from 1846-1900, which is outside my time horizon of interest.


A tabernacle was an important unifying element in maintaining the Mormon concept of Zion and the Saints' requirements to bring it about. Its size and central position within the community reminded the Saints of their covenants and obligations. Tabernacles were specifically designed to meet the congregational needs of a stake, a term used to describe a Mormon ecclesiastical unit roughly equivalent to a diocese. (p.53)
The terminology of stakes and tabernacles could be traced back to Isaiah 54:2-7 and to Isaiah 33:20, where it is promised for Zion that "a tabernacle shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed" (p.54). On the other hand, as Hamilton points out, in common parlance of the 17th century, tabernacle was just a temporary facility for religious congregations [as it is in the Exodus story, RCK].
Sir Christopher Wren, for example, while rebuilding parish churches destroyed in the Great Fire of London (1666), erected a number of wooden temporary shelters that he referred to as tabernacles. (p.54) [cf. Kerry Downs, Art. Christopher Wren, in: Encyclopedia of Architecture, 4 vols., New York (Free Press) 1982, 4:423.] 
Tabernacles expressed the "diversity of Mormon taste and knowledge of architecture. This diversity led to styles ranging from Wrenish Colonial to Victorian Gothic." (p.55)

The story of tabernacle construction dates back to the Nauvoo era.
The rapid growth in church membership in Nauvoo created the need for a covered facility of ample size. The Grove, an open area east of the Nauvoo Temple, had become and inadequate place for the Prophet to address his followers and was very uncomfortable during cold and inclement weather. In the spring of 1844, Smith requested a tabernacle to be constructed to remedy the situation. The tentlike structure, to be fabricated of canvas and wood, was to be attached to the west facade of the temple then being constructed, to take advantage of the structural stability of the building. The dimensions of the projected ellipse were approximately 250 feet on the long axis and 125 feet on the short axis. (p.55)
After Smiths' martyrdom, Brigham Young and his Council of Twelve attacked the problem with their usual vigor, soliciting contributions from the eastern Saints for the building in 1845 (p.55).

For the remainder of the chapter, Hamilton then turns to the problem of tabernacles in Utah from 1846-1900, which is outside my time horizon of interest.


If the tabernacle is the building for the stake level, then the meetinghouse is the building at the level of the ward, the subdivision of the stake (p.77). 
The meetinghouse ... served the congregational needs of a ward, the basic ecclesiastica unit within the church, serving the weekly devotional needs of the Saints as community hall, and often, as school. (p.77)
Hamilton reminds us that the notion of the ward is intimately tied to the lay status of the ministry in the LDS.
A ward is the smallest fully staffed ecclesiastical unit in the LDS Church. A church does not have a paid ministry and all ward positions are filled by people taken from the lay membership, including the position of bishop, the presiding authority over a ward. All members serve the church voluntarily while holding regular jobs. (p.163 Fn 1)
The exception are the General Authorities, as Hamilton explains (p.169 Fn 19)
The General Authorities, or central leadership of the church---First Presidency, Council of Twelve, etcetera---are paid, but not from tithing funds. Rather they are self-supporting, or are paid from existing financial investments. (p.169 Fn 19) 
Though Hamilton wrote the following statement when discussing the early time in the Great Basin, it applies mutatis mutandis to the time before 1845.
Like the Puritans before them, they made no distinction between church and state, and all activities involving the communities of Zion were done in one form or another under the aegis of the church. (p.77)
While in Kirtland, the temple sufficed for the community, in Nauvoo the tabernacle became necessary (p.78), and none of the wards had their own meetinghouses yet. Yet the combination of temple and tabernacle could not have sufficed.
Nauvoo was divided into wards, none of which held regularly scheduled worship services. (The Prophet held weekly meetings for the church membership, in the Grove east of the temple, or at other places within the city.) When the Saints did meet, it was typically in private houses or in various other buildings. (p.78)
Obviously the issue of sacred space was in this case tied to number of members, which cross a qualitative line only in Nauvoo.
The resolution of the relationship between the church, stake, and ward organizations and standardization of meetings came after the Saints arrived in the Great Basin. The same was true for the building of meetinghouses. (p.78)
For the remainder of the chapter, Hamilton then turns to the problem of meetinghouses in Utah from 1846-1900, which is outside my time horizon of interest. 

Associated Buildings

Hamilton identifies four types of associated buildings that serve specialized purposes (p.93).
... the endowment house, the priesthood hall, the Relief Society hall, and the tithing office. Each was built in response to a specific liturgical, administrative or auxiliary need. (p.93)
Though endowment house and priesthood hall stopped being relevant in the nineteenth century, and the Relief Society hall and tithing office sometime in the early twentieth century, they functioned as intermediaries in the development of Mormon doctrines and practices (p.93).
Eventually, each [of endowment house, priesthood hall, Relief Society hall, and tithing office, RCK] was abandoned because of the completion of the temples, changes in church practices, and the expanded role of meetinghouses. Yet these building types played an important role as the Saints strived to solidify church doctrine and practices and to accommodate the growing numbers of converts coming to "Zion". (p.93)
The endowment house was a temporary place needed until the attic story of the temple was completed after the Prophet's death in 1844 (p.93).
Joseph Smith first administered the full endowment in 1843, in the upper room of his "Red Brick Store," a commercial building on Water Street in Nauvoo. There, members of the Council of Twelve were endowed so they could share in---and administer to other Saints---the knowledge and blessings of the kingdom. (p.93)
In order to understand priesthood halls,  Hamilton first sketches the priesthood setup in the Mormon Church (p.94).
The priesthood is the governing power, or authority, of the Mormon Church and is held by lay persons from within the ranks of the church. It is divided into the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. Each has three divisions which form a hierarchy of offices. In the ascending order of responsibility they are deacon, teacher and priest in the Aaronic Priesthood; and elder, seventy, and high priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Members of the Aaronic Priesthood officiate in the lesser duties and ordinances of the church, while those in the Melchizedek Priesthood are called to oversee spiritual affairs and to assume the major leadership positions within the church [= DC 20:38-67; DC 107:1-100].  
The seventies were the only office to build a priesthood hall (p.95).
In 1843 John D. Lee, a prominent Mormon leader and general secretary of the Seventies Quorums (seventy members per quorum) in Nauvoo, was appointed to oversee the construction of the first Seventies Hall. Each seventy (member) was assessed a five dollar fee for the building of the hall. (p.95)
Work on the structure, on the corner of Bain and Parley streets, commenced in the fall of that year but came to an abrupt end the following March when a tornadolike wind blew a portion of the west wall down. On Brigham Young's advice, the builders tore the remaining portion of the wall down and rebuilt it, adding an extra coursing to increase the wall's thickness from two to three bricks. By August, a two-story, 28-by-40 foot building had been completed, .... (p.95)
Unfortunately, the building fell into ruin after 1846, and was sold for bricks in 1915. Thus, though the reconstruction that Hamilton gives is based on research, excavations in the 1970s, and contemporary description, but it is somewhat conjectural (p.95).
The south facade of the building is marked by a Federal-style double-door entrance topped by a handsomely proportioned arched fanlight window. The ground floor consists of an assembly hall with a pulpit and rostrum at the north end. It is assumed that the hall was reached from a vestibule entrance. The hall was used for general quorum meetings as well as Sunday services for other church groups. (p.95)
 The second floor was reached by one or two corner staircases, held a three-thousand-volume library probably occupying the area overlooking Parley Street to the south and marked on the exterior by the second-story windows of the entrance facade. The library's importance to the church and its members was reported in the pages of a local Mormon newspaper: "Among the improvements going forward in this city, none merit higher praise, than the Seventies' Library. This concern has been commenced on a footing and scale, broad enough to embrace the arts and sciences, everywhere: so that the Seventies, while traveling over the face of the globe, as the Lord's Regular Soldiers (missionaries), can gather all the curious things, both natural and artificial, with all the knowledge, inventions and wonderful specimens of genius that have || been gracing the world for almost six thousand years." [= Nauvoo Neighbor, January 1st, 1845] The Seventies Hall became a center of learning for Nauvoo, just as it would in Salt Lake City. (pp.95-96)
The remaining part of the second floor was used for meetings of the Council of Fifty, an administrative body appointed to oversee security and some directional and organizational affairs of the church and civil government. This area is also a conjectural reconstruction based on available information. (p.96)
Hamilton reminds us: 
The Relief Society, the women's auxiliary unit of the Mormon Church, is the oldest--and largest---women's organization in the world. It was founded in Nauvoo on March 16, 1842, by Joseph Smith, who appointed his wife Emma as the first president. The society's primary responsibility was to look after the physical well-being of its members, assisting effectively, the priesthood leadership in helping the Saints to become self-sufficient. (p.97)
However, that retro-projects too much, as Hamilton admits in (p.168 Fn 12),
During the Nauvoo period, the Relief Society was organized to help the needy in the church. It was under the immediate direction of the president of the church. The expanded role of the Relief Society and its work under the direction of a local bishop came after the Saints' arrival in the Great Basin region. (p.168 Fn 12)
However, no Relief Society halls were constructed during the Nauvoo period (p.97)

The practice of tithing had been introduced in 1831 by Joseph Smith [??? this seems wrong, check RCK] (p.98).  Hamilton believes that Joseph Smith collected tithes in Nauvoo in the office located in the back of his Red Brick Store (p.169 Fn 17). It was only in the Great Basin that tithing offices and even a tithing yard (for commodities and livestock, when paying in kind) were construct (p.99).

Hamilton closes his discussion with a comment on the demise of these specialized building types.
Each type was a casualty of history. With the completion of the Salt Lake Temple, the Endowment House was no longer needed. The institution of regular priesthood meetings by quorums within individual wards eliminated any need for separate priesthood halls. A new generation of meetinghouses around the turn of the century, accompanied by changes in church practices, led to the demise of the Relief Society halls and tithing offices. (p.100)

Domestic Architecture 

While Hamilton emphasises the important role of the family in Mormon theology (p.101), he also admits that the importance did not translate to innovation in the domestic space, where existing vernacular forms dominated (p.101).
The homes of the Saints in Kirtland were simple, vernacular frame structures that were consistent with their places of origin in the Western Reserve, New York, or New England. Aside from a few classical details, the houses were unremarkable and the Saints' impoverished circumstances prevented them from building any architecturally significant houses. It would not be until after they arrived in Nauvoo that they would be able to develop more substantial family dwellings. (p.101)
[[I consider this sketch to be misleading; at Kirtland and Missouri there were already substantial dwellings of the Mormon elites; and in Nauvoo the arriving poor had surely no better houses than the modified boxes of Kirtland. RCK]]
... log and wood-frame structures were the most common of the 2,500 homes built during the Nauvoo period; 1,500 were log cabins, 650 were frame structures, and only 350 were brick. (p.102)
No long cabin built during the Mormon period has survived. (p.101) 
However, the basic log house style is pretty clearly understood and reconstructed at Nauvoo on the former property of Dr Calvin Pendleton.
The [log, RCK] house is of square cut, V-notch log construction. Chinking was applied to seal and weatherproof the main body of the house, and the gable ends and frame lean-to were covered by weather boards. The open-beam ceiling of the single-room ground floor is seven feet in height. The sleeping loft is reached by a narrow staircase in the northwest corner to the right of the brick chimney. (p.102)
The only surviving log dwelling in Nauvoo predates the arrival of the Saints and was constructed in 1803. Joseph Smith Jr purchased it, adapted the first floor to his height, and then added a lean-to (p.169 Fn 2).

A few of the original frame houses still exist, however.
Joseph Coolidge, an accomplished woodworker from Main, built a two-story, L-plan fame house (1843) in a classically inspired vernacular design. It was painted white, as were most other frame houses in Nauvoo. Sash windows and continuous cornice were used on the building. Only the roof of the south portion or wing of the house was finished with pedimented gables. The main entry, a single door on the west front of the building leads directly into a large, one-room hall and parlor. Access to the south-facing portion of the house is through the hall-parlor, or a single door side entry. The door leads to an entry hall off the hall-parlor and staircase. The larger ground-floor room of this portion of the house is thought to have been used by Coolidge as a workshop. Bedchambers formed the second floor of the house. Its two-story configuration, Federal-style proportions, and decorative elements are often referred to as a "Nauvoo house". (p.102)
The Mansion House (1842-43) and the Orson Hyde home (1843) were more pretentious. Both were of the Greek Revival Style popular  along the Mississippi River in that era. Joseph Coolidge was credited with the design of the Mansion House, and L-plan two-story || frame building painted off-white with green shutters. It was large enough for Joseph Smith's family, and served as a fitting place to entertain guests. (pp.102-103)
The west facade of the I-plan, two story, frame building is defined by four colossal pilasters of the Tuscan order. Placed at the corners and on either side of the front entrance, they visually supported a well-proportioned entablature beneath the shallow cave of a low-pitched roof. The entrance features a pattern-book-drived single-paneled door with side and transom lights. The entablature above the door is appropriately placed at the point marking the structural division between the two floors. A central passage hall opens into the ladies' parlor and the men's parlor ("the Office") on the south. Both rooms are fitted with end-wall fireplaces. A two-story kitchen and bedroom (or sitting room) all came off the southeast corner of the house. It was extended to make a hotel in 1843. (p.103)
Other than the Mansion or the Coolidge home,  the Orson Hyde home does not follow the L-plan.
The Orson Hyde house (1843) is an I-plan, one-and-a-half story, four-room frame dwelling adorned with corner piers and a shallow, noncontinuous cornice. The cornice concludes in the gable ends, corresponding with the cornice returns and the corner piers. Four windows set in the cornice mark a half, or attic, story on the front and back of the house. The half story is best defined by the two windows in the gable ends. The pilastered Greek entrance was symmetrically placed, providing access to the parlor and hall. (The veranda, bay window, and rear extension are not original to the house.) (p.103)
In the restored Nauvoo, the I-plan brick house with entrances on the long side is the dominant design.
They [i.e. the I-plan brick houses, RCK] are largely vernacular in appearance with Federal proportions and decorative elements. The two-story George Laub house (1843), and the large David Yearsley house (1843-44) are representative examples. However, the Wilford Woodruff (1843-44) ... and William Weeks (1843) house are the most expressive I-plan designs. (p.103)
The Wilford Woodruff house stands out in its appearance.
The Wilford Woodruff house is perhaps the most refined of the Federal-style homes in Nauvoo. Woodruff, a keen observer of architecture, hand picked every brick for the exterior wall in order to insure uniform size, color, and surface quality. The proportions and symmetry of the building, from the minimal detailing around the windows and doors to the flat arches above the windows, the double chimneys, and the fan lights in the parapet gable-ends, speak of a person of refined || taste. Its central passage hall leads to symmetrically arranged and spacious rooms on both floors in keeping with the symmetry of the house. (pp.103-104) 
Since William Weeks was an architect, it may not be surprising that his is one of the most individualistic brick houses.
Of the I-plan brick houses with entrances on their long sides, few were as individualistic as the single-story home and office of architect William Weeks. The original two-window cottage designed by himself in 1843 is characterized by a round-arch entrance unusual for Nauvoo. As he did elsewhere in the city, Weeks employed limestone lintels and sills for the windows and a wood cornice to contrast with the red-brown brick, enhancing the simple beauty of his house. It has a full basement with a kitchen and storage area which is reached through an outside entrance from the west slope, and a narrow staircase off the north side of what is now the center fireplace. The use of parapets and the date for the addition of the smaller east bay and interior arrangement are problematic. (p.104)
The home purchased by John Taylor, a Mormon convert from England and member of the Presidency, in 1845 had been built by James Ivins, a Mormon convert from New Jersey, in 1842 (p.104), then one of the earliest brick structures in the city.
The two-and-a-half story, five bay, symmetrical structure is enhanced by a beautifully crafted single-door entrance with sidelights and an over-door transom. A proportioned limestone lintel or entablature complete the entrance. The sash windows, like a number of others in Nauvoo, diminish in size and conclude with narrow rectangular windows set in a refined cornice beneath the shallow eave of the low-pitched roof. The end chimneys are accented by raised and capped parapet-gables. The fine classical detailing of this central-passage hall-parlor design is unexcelled. The same concern for detail can be seen in || the woodwork in the four symmetrically arranged rooms. A summer kitchen, with an attic-story bedchamber was added to the back of the one-room deep house. (Summer kitchens, either attached or detached, were commonplace in Nauvoo.) Ivins' Store (later a church printing office) and the Post Office (reconstructed) on the south and north framed the house. (pp.104-105)
One key modification to the I-plan house was to put the entrance on the short-side, the so called temple front (p.105).
The George C. Riser house (1843, reconstructed) was the most simple of those that were built. This designed is characterized by narrow vertical facades either with common or stepped gables. The rooms were arranged on a long axis, reminiscent of a townhouse. The symmetry of the facade varied according to the function of the building; the central position of the door in the Riser house, for example, was for the convenience of the ground-floor shoe shop. (p.105)
Brigham Young ... adopted a side-passage design for his home (1843). The axial hall was set to the right to provide for a full room on the left, a narrow staircase on the right, and a kitchen at the back of the house. Bedroom and meeting-room wings were added to the west and east sides. In adding the wings, stepped gables were used, coordinating with those of the main body. (p.105)
The way that Riser had his shoe shop on the ground floor or Ivins his store next door was common at that time. Hamilton provides a few additional examples.
Jonathan Browning, the father of John Moses Browning, who founded the Browning Arms Company, made two lateral additions to his original brick home to accommodate his family and growing firearms business (1843-1845). (p.105)
[In the] ... Windsor P. Lyon house (1843), ... the apothecary shop and general merchandise store were designed as part of the living quarters. The ship compromised most of the entire lower floor, while the upper story served the domestic needs of the family. (p.105)
In the Raymond Clark house (1843), the west side of the ground floor, as marked by the oversized windows and double-door entrance, was designed as a store. The symmetry of the facade, the double and single-door entrances, and the relative size of the windows are clear indications of the position of the store in relation to the house. (p.105)
Hamilton then discusses the brick-laying strategies involved in these houses.
A "modified American" bond was the most common pattern used in the construction of brick houses in Nauvoo. Typically, a coursing pattern of five or six stretchers to each course of headers was used, differing from the more common pattern (three or five courses of stretchers to each course of headers) of the true American bond. The higher proportion of stretchers to headers was apparently due more to economics than to structural or aesthetic appeal. The Flemish bond was also used, but less frequently because of the added cost. The Taylor and the Kimball houses are two excellent examples of the Flemish bond technique. For added strength, a three-brick thickness [of the wall, RCK] was preferred over two [see the discussion of the priesthood hall above, RCK]. 
[[Notice that the Kimball house was built in 1845 and is therefore omitted from this excerption. RCK]]

Peripheral Buildings

Economy of construction and pragmatic functionalism defined the schools, theatres and civic buildings in the Mormon building type repertoire, which were predominantly vernacular and not architecturally distinguished (p.119).

Education buildings were already a concern in Kirtland and Nauvoo (p.119). 
"The glory of God is intelligence" [= D&C 93:36, RCK] has long been the Mormon scriptural maxim, and education was of paramount importance to the Saints, even during times of severe hardship. As early as 1831, Joseph Smith asked Oliver Cowdery and William W. Phelps to collect the best textbooks available in preparation for organizing a primary and secondary school. In 1833 Kirtland High School was established and 140 children enrolled. Classes were held in the attic story of the newly completed Kirtland || Temple. The curriculum consisted of classics, English and science. Competency examinations were administered at the end of each term. (pp.119-120)
The story of the "School of the Prophets" established in 1833 is well-known (p.119). Hamilton points out that with the completion of the upper part of the Kirtland Temple, the classes moved from the Whitney store to the upper assembly room or court of the temple (p.120). Joshua Seixas conducted classes in Hebrew (p.120). The School of Elders was similarly organized in Independence and in Nauvoo (p.120). On January 15th, 1841, Joseph Smith Jr sent out a circular to the national and international branches of the Church to let them know about the future "University of the City of Nauvoo" (p.120).

The Relief Society the Nauvoo times' central form of promoting a cultural and moral education (p.127).
Through these organizations, the women of the church took active roles in church and community affairs. They were encouraged to become doctors, midwives, and teachers. (Mormon women had equal voting rights with men, but these rights were taken from them by the federal government when Utah became a state in 1896.) The church's influence through its female membership, coupled with the rapid influx of foreign converts from Europe after 1830, were important factors in broadening cultural understanding in Nauvoo and the western settlements. (p.127)
As an example of the cultural activity of dancing, Hamilton mentions the dance that Brigham Young organized December 30th, 1845, in the unfinished temple, as the Saints were working feverishly to complete it before making their exodus. (p.127)
In Nauvoo, William Weeks was the probable architect for the classically inspired, three story multipurpose building (1843-44) to house departments of city government, three Masonic lodges, cultural activities, and school and church meetings. It replaced the Prophet's general store as the city's social center [cf. Launius & McKiernan on the Red Brick Store, Chapter 2. RCK]. Although it was commonly referred to as the Masonic Hall or Masonic Temple, the building was used only briefly for Masonic meetings, as the Grand Lodge of Illinois rescinded the charter a year after the dedication of the hall, on April 6, 1844. [This had been an attempt by Smith to gain acceptability for Mormonism, which failed; cf. (p.177 Fn 34), RCK] It would perhaps be more accurate to refer to the building as the Nauvoo Civic and Cultural Hall. (p.128)
Hamilton then describes the internal organization of the cultural hall.
The first floor was used as a courtroom and assembly hall for plays, concerts, recitals, funerals, and church meetings. The second floor was reserved for the police department. Formal dances and dinners and Masonic meetings were held in a third-floor auditorium. Overlooking the auditorium was a balcony where the Nauvoo Brass Band played for social occasions. The basement was used for the storage of food items. (p.128)
Next Hamilton discusses the architectural features.
The Masonic Hall was second in architectural importance only to the Nauvoo Temple. A synthesis of Federal and Greek revival forms, the hall's three-story attenuated proportions must have appeared ungainly when compared to surrounding buildings. (The use of round arches on the first floor seems to be a hallmark of the architecture.) Center doors opened directly into an assembly hall with a raised stage along the back wall. Access to the second and third floors was gained by a rear interior staircase. The ceiling and main support beams for the second floor were set on six columns. Both of the upper floors were serviced by ample landings and entrance doors. A dumbwaiter positioned in the center of the back wall of the third floor services the social activities held there. (p.128)
Though music was probably as popular as theatre among the Saints, the eight-hundred seat brick Concert Hall, sometimes referred to as the Music Hall, was only commenced after the death of Joseph Smith Jr, in the fall of 1844 (p.128).
Boweries were used as interim gathering places for the Saints in the early years of the church. They could be constructed of readily found materials---logs, willows, brush and tree limbs---in a few hours, and their size and open interiors were conducive to large social gatherings. Such events were considered to be as necessary as work and worship in developing the whole person. This holistic, or balanced concept of life was continually stressed by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and their successors. (p.129) [= HC, 4:545-541]
Hamilton then turns to the problem of commercial buildings (p.132).
In Nauvoo, those who did not farm for a living were encouraged to develop a trade to provide for themselves and their families. A network of small businesses sprang up around the city. Joseph Smith, for one, owned the two-story "Red Brick Store" (1841-42) on Water Street and was involved in the construction of a planned four-story hotel (Nauvoo House, begin 1841) at the time of his death. (p.132)
[[Again, the industrialization side of this is completely neglected, possibly because it is so outside of Smith's radar as well. What about the Law steam-powered mill? RCK]]
The Nauvoo House would have been the second-largest building in the city had it been completed. (p.179 Fn 49)
As far as governmental buildings are concerned, all these were non-issues before the Great Basin (p.136).
The Mormons did not build a civic hall in Kirtland, Independence or Far West. Meetings pertaining to civic affairs in Nauvoo were held in private homes, in Joseph Smith's general store, in the Seventies Hall, and in the Masonic Hall. (p.136)


Hamilton claims a special place for the Mormon achievements in 19th-century America (p.140).
No utopian society has contributed so much to the history of nineteenth-century America as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (p.140)

Recommended Reading

  • Robert Bruce FLANDERS, Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi, Urbana (University of Illinois Press), 1965.

Bibliographic Record

Mark Hamilton, Nineteenth Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning, New York -- Oxford (Oxford University Press), 1995.

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