Brigham Young the architect involved in all kinds of Utah buildings

Published: Thursday, Nov. 14 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Designed to be the governor’s residence, the house type is based on a type familiar to President Young from his Vermont upbringing. The style is Greek Revival, a popular 1850s style that denoted democracy, equality and republicanism, but the type is “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn."

The Lion House

Built as the family residence in the Gothic Revival style, it denoted religious living and domesticity for its occupants. Note the “Y” windows.

The Brigham Young Winter Home

The home was purchased and added to by President Young in the 1870s in the Italianate style. He was closely involved in its design. “There should, however, be a verandah one story high, running all along the north side, with a door opening on to it from the house which would be a good place to sleep in the summertime," he advised.

The Salt Lake Theatre

An 1870 visitor attended a play at the theater and was particularly impressed with the central chandelier, which was “creditable to any New York firm, apparently a richly carven circle, twined with gilt vines, leaves, and tendrils, blossoming all over with flaming wax-lights, and suspended by a massive chain of gold lustre.” He guessed that the Saints had “probably paid $1,000 for it in New York.” President Young said, “I made it myself! That circle is a cartwheel — the wheel off one of our common Utah ox-carts. I had it washed and gilded it with my own hands. It hangs by a pair of ox-chains which I also gilded; and the gilt ornaments of the candlesticks were all cut after my patterns out of sheet tin!" (Story also from the Orton and Slaughter book.)

The St. George Tabernacle

President Young thought that as the dust was blowing upon the congregation in a bowery, it was a good time to speak about the building of a tabernacle. He did not know what arrangements had been made, but proposed that one should be built 100-by-50 feet, with a spire 150-feet high; and that one end of the building be constructed, that when necessary, the house could be conveniently enlarged.

The St. George Temple

President Young took a personal interest in the temple construction and basically moved to St. George to supervise construction. When he was in Salt Lake, the workers would write to him directly instead of writing the church architect. Brigham Young selected the floor plan, gave the building dimensions and commented on many aspects of design.

The first Provo meetinghouse

President Young selected the site and told the congregation their building was already too small the day it was dedicated.

The Bountiful Tabernacle

President Young chastised the local members for leaving it unfinished while so many towns around them were able to finish their buildings.

The Salt Lake Temple

For the building of this temple, President Young was involved in every stage. He hung a copy of the rendering in his office so every visitor would be reminded of the primary focus of temple building.

Despite his achievements as church president, colonizer and leader of thousands, the title of “builder” was dearest to his heart, Utt said. "Indeed, in the end he was a builder not only of towns and structures but of people and doctrines."

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com

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