I love learning more about old temples . . . especially the ones I've researched and written about (cough-cough-Spires of Stone-cough-cough).
This is a shot of me next to an Earth Stone on the Salt Lake Temple.
These were the largest, most expensive,
and most difficult stones to carve. Note how BIG it is!
Recently, two fun bits came to my attention about the Salt Lake Temple. They excited me, and I thought my readers might get a kick out of them too.
The first is an article at Keepapitchinin, a great blog with Mormon history and other nuggets.
"The Mountain of the Lord's House" is a post that goes into some detail about how the granite was quarried for the temple. More, it debunks some long-held myths. (None of which, I might add, I ever used in the book.)
For example, the holes drilled into the stone weren't used to insert dowels of wood. Stories have been passed down that wood was inserted into the holes and soaked in water. Then the expanding wood broke off the stone. Either that, or they'd wait until winter, and the freezing water expanded and did the same thing. Neither is true.
The article goes into great detail about why the holes were drilled along the grain-line of the granite and just how the stones really were broken off. Fascinating stuff, really. I loved learning that the Salt Lake Temple stone wasn't quarried with explosives like other temples' were.
Much of the same tools were used, though, including drilling the holes in the first place . . . and the guy holding the drill having to really, really trust the guy above him who was swinging the sledgehammer inches from his hands.
Back during the temple's construction, City Creek ran through the temple lot, and it was used as a water source by many people and businesses in the area. For decades, City Creek has been redirected underground through pipes. Today, part of it is now above ground again, thanks to the new landscaping surrounding the Conference Center and the new Church History Library.
Here's the part of the article I thought was beyond cool: they have not only brought up part of the creek again, but they deliberately picked quarry stones to line it that bore marks from the original construction period: you can see man-made chisel marks and holes that are more than a century old.
(I need to take a trip up to Salt Lake just to see this. If and when I do, I'll post pictures!)
Go HERE to read the full article. It's worth the read.
Finally, a friend sent me THIS LINK, which shows a miniature, 3-D replica of the entire Salt Lake Temple, including the interior, down to banisters and chandeliers. It's super cool, and almost like having the chance to walk though the building in an open house-type situation as they do before temples are dedicated. The level of detail is astounding.