Historic Video Series – Logan Utah Temple (1884)

The longest, and possibly most complex video I have ever released. This temple model represents the Logan Temple as it probably looked in 1884 when it was dedicated.

This model features the interior rooms of the original temple. These rooms have since been removed during a renovation in the 1970s. I had a good time making very inaccurate reproductions of the original murals, based on partial black and white photos from before the demolition.

Edit: I have had some questions on the murals, and need to explain better:
There are a few black and white photos floating around out there that show parts of the original murals in each room, but they are very fuzzy and don’t show all four walls. Using those as a guide a hand drew mountains and lakes, and photoshoped photos of real trees where the black and white photos showed trees. Then I made up the rest.

The Tower Spheres of the Logan Temple

An early newspaper article by Marion Everton (7 March 1936) shares a story that occurred between Temple architect And one of the woodworkers. Truman O. Angel Jr. (Son of Salt Lake Temple architect, Truman O. Angel Sr.) was the architect for this particular temple. Thomas J. Lowe was a draftsman and a woodworker involved with the temple.

Difficulties in construction

The story goes that Lowe was asked to carve 2 spheres 32 inches in diameter, one each for the twin towers of the temple. Brother Lowe began bu gluing together two large blocks of scrap wood, then trimming the corners off to make a faceted sphere like shape. He then rigged up a lathe and turned the two blocks into s sphere. The early version of the story said that he got them down to 34 inches, and found continuing to be difficult due to the end grain on some of the pieces within the original block of wood. In frustration, Brother Lowe brought the problem to Brother Angel’s attention.

Would two inches taller actually be of any notice, he asked of the architect?

Truman Jr’s answer was disheartening. “Oh yes, it will, it muse be done according to the drawing.”

Well, Lowe dug back into the task, but found it still to difficult. So he hatched a plan. Once in place, he reasoned, there was no way that the even the architect would be able to tell the difference. So, once Angel had left, he had the spheres finished and placed upon the temple at their larger 34 inch diameter.

When Angel returned, Brother Lowe asked him what he thought of the now completed spheres.

“It’s fine.” The architect replied. “I told you, always to go by the drawing.”

Brother Lowe, on the other hand, was quite satisfied in having been right all along.

The Urban Legend

Somewhere along the way, this story, true or not, morphed into a completely new legend.

The story became that only one of the spheres had been difficult to carve, And that the question was whether or not they both had to be the same size. The size of the spheres changed as well. Instead of being 34 inches instead of 32, the most common version of the story was that one sphere was 36 inches, and the other 39 inches.

And so the debate raged. Some became convinced that it was the East spire sphere that was 39 Inches. Others were convinced that the slightly shorter West spire had the 39 inch sphere, and because it was closer to the ground it looked the same size as the 36 inch sphere on the east tower.

Truth and Renovation

In 1992 the Church undertook a project to remove and replace the domes atop both of the towers. The project called for removing both domes, the parapets that surrounded them, the spheres, and the weather vanes from each of the two towers. The Dome, parapets and spheres would then be replaced with fiberglass replicas, and the original weather vanes placed back within the new pieces.

Spindler Construction of Logan Utah was hired to do the replacement. The fiberglass replicas were created in California.

After removing the tops of both towers, the construction crew resolved to put the debate over which sphere was largest to rest once and for all. Taking both at their widest point, they measured and found that both spheres measured 28 inches in diameter. Not 32, not 34, not even 36 or 39 inches. 28, no less and no more.

It is still possible that Brother Lowe and Brother Angell still had a conversation over what size the spheres were supposed to be. There may have been some difficulty in creating the balls and making them exactly the right size.

However, it is very apparent that the story once again grew beyond what may or may not have been true to take on a life all of its own.

Sources

Construction
Article by Marion Everton, 7 March 1936. (Source unknown)

Logan Temple
Tower-Dome Refinishing Project 1992
unpublished manuscript
Edgar R. Lewandowski

Comments

This post currently has 6 responses

    • No, there were actually at least 3 when the temple was dedicated, however I am lacking enough information to complete the other rooms at this time, so I did not focus on them.

    • Thank you. More, is it possible to add descriptors in the 3d animation, like first floor, entrance and so on… . In another version (printed words not voice)?

      • Have you been in contact with photographer Craig Law and seen his photo archive of the original temple?
        Also, have you talked with the historian Kenneth Godfrey. Both men could be insightful to your research.

        • I have seen the Craig Law photos, but have not talked to him. I do not know Kenneth Godfrey at all, though. I did have help from a couple of individuals who are well researched int he history of the Logan Temple though.

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