Monday, April 06, 2009
Temple Trivia: Logan
Of all my temple books, House on the Hill tells more about its temple than any other. The Logan Temple is almost another character, it's such a big part of the story. Even though there are more stories in that book, plenty more aren't in it. Here are two of my favorites.
Carpeting the Temple
The original plan was to purchase factory-made carpet. 1,516 yards were purchased, but that wasn't nearly enough. Worse, the order had pretty much depleted the supply available. What to do?
Superintendent Charles O. Card asked the committee for permission to use handmade carpets. As soon as it was granted, stake Relief Societies were called on to band together to make the carpets.
The women donated rags, which were torn into strips at rag-tearing sessions. The strips were then sewn together by color and rolled into balls. The balls were taken to a weaving machine, which created long strips of cloth. They then sewed the strips together carefully so the carpet wouldn't twist or bulge.
As they were sewn together, the carpets were stretched across a room, tied to doorknobs on either side, to help keep them square. Some wards had to work together on pieces for the larger rooms to make sure the pattern remained consistent.
In spite of how hard they worked, the women weren't able to complete quite all of the carpet on time. The last of it was delivered to the temple on Tuesday, May 20, three days after the dedication. The carpet was installed all that night, with the last bit being laid at 8:00 AM, barely in time for ordinance work to begin that day.
In all, the Relief Society sisters made 2,144 yards of carpet, about two-thirds of the total 3,660 yards in the temple. The homemade carpet remained until 1925, when it was replaced by store-made carpet, with the exception of one bit, which hung on in one of the towers until 1959. When it was removed, that last section was cut into pieces, which were given to officiators and others. Presumably, one piece is still in the temple office.
The Hay Baler
One of the saddest stories in the construction is something I wanted to tell in the book, but I couldn't find a natural way to fit it into the plot. Since I refuse to throw in irrelevant history just for history's sake, I reluctantly left it out. So I'm going to tell it here instead.
Since the construction era was well before things like gas-powered cranes and other motorized vehicles, much of the power came from animals like horses and mules who hauled stone, pulled ropes on pulleys to raise stone blocks, and the like. (I do tell about Old Jim the donkey in the book. Fun story there.)
As a result of the animal labor, they had a temple stable where the work animals were fed and housed. For many families, their donations for the temple consisted of hay for the animals. To keep the hay in good condition and to be able to distribute it easier, they needed a baler.
Nolan P. Olsen describes it as being, "15 feet high, consisting of a large wooden enclosure, with a hole through which the hay was pitched. A large flat rock was rigged up so it could be hoisted up high by horse power, and when it was tripped it would fall into the enclosure and mash the hay flat."
The 300-500 pound bale would be tied up with ropes or wire and then stacked for later use.
One day the rope got stuck, and they couldn't trip the rock to make it fall. The workers couldn't get the rope to loosen or the stone to budge. At that point, a young man of 13 years, John Hincks, put his head inside the baler to peer up in hopes of seeing what the problem was.
Of course, that's the moment the rock tripped on its own. It came down and crushed his head, killing him.
The death of John Hincks was the first connected to the construction of the Logan Temple, but while it wasn't anywhere near the last, to me, it's one of the most tragic because he was so young.
As his grave marker said, he was "Like a flower in bud just bursting into view."
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