An Early History of Cache County…

<<Back Index Next>>

Compiled by M. R. Hovey, Secretary, Logan Chamber of Commerce. January 1, 1923 to January 1, 1925. Also as printed in the Logan Journal, beginning August 4, 1923.

Mendon Utah Logo

Construction of the TempleLogan, Utah Temple of the LDS Church

Apostle Wilford Woodreff predicted that a Temple would be built by the people of Logan and Cache Valley long before there appeared any indications of such an occurrence. The folowing extracts from his journal in relation to it will be read with much interest:

“On the 21st day of August 1863, in company with the President of the Church, the Twelve Apostles, a large number of elders and a large train of carriages, we entered the town of Logan. We met a large number of boys and girls, young men and maidens, all parading the streets. The women and children, dressed in white, stood on one side of the road and the men and boys, dressed in their best attire, were on the other side, to celebrate the coming of President Brigham Young and his company.”

“August 22nd being Sunday, we met in a large bowery. Ezra T. Benson, President and Peter Maughan, bishop. There were present of the authorities of the Church: President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Daniel H. Wells, John Taylor, Wilford Wooodruff, George A. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Charles C. Rich, President Joseph Young and a large congregation of Elders and Saints. After prayer, President Young called upon Wilford Woodruff to speak. As I arose, I was colthed upon with the spirit of God and my mind was truned to the young people who had met us the evening before. The following is a synopsis of the remarks I made.”

“As I am called upon to address the assembly this morning, my mind leads me to speak to the young people who are before me. I whish to say to my young friends that last evening as we came into this town, we met you parading the streets to pay proper respect to President Young and his party. You met to greet prophets, apostles and inspired men. This is a privilege which no other generation of young people have enjoyed for 1800 years, until Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was raised up to lay the foundation of the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth; a privilege for which I would have felt amply repaid if I had had to travel a thousand miles in the days of my boyhood, on foot, to have witnessed. Now, my young friends, I wish you to remember the scenes you are witnessing during the visit of President Young and his brethren. Yea, my young friends, treasure up the teachings and sayings of these prophets and apostles as precious treasures while they are living men, and don’t wait until they are dead. A few days and President Young and his brethren, the prophets and apostles, brothers Benson and Maughan will be in the spirit world. You should never forget this visitation. You are to become men and women, fathers and mothers; yea, the day will come after your fathers and the prophets and apostles are dead and passed away into the spirit world, when you will have the privilege of going into the towers of a glorious temple, which will be built unto the name of the Most High (pointing in the direction of the bench) east of us upon the Logan bench; and you will stand in the towers of that temple and your eyes survey this glorious Valley, filled with cities and villages, occupied with tens of thousands of Latter-Day Saints; you will then call to mind this visitation of President Young and his company.”

1920's view of the Logan Utah TemplePresident Young followed and said, “All that Brother Woodruff has said is revelation and will be fulfilled.”

Fourteen years after, May 18th, 1877, President Brigham Young and his counselors, John W. Young and Daniel H. Wells, and apostles John Taylor, Orson Pratt, Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, George Q. Cannon and Brigham Young, Jr., William B. Preston, Moses Thatcher, Samuel Roskelley, M. D. Hammond and other prominent citizens of the Valley and other parts of the Territory were also present. The site chosen was the plateau in the center of the city on which the temple is now located. President Young observed when he came to locate the site that it was the finest location for a temple he had ever seen.

At twelve o’clock noon, under the direction of President Young, the ground was broken and President John W. Young threw out the first spade-full of earth. He was followed by Daniel H. Wells and all the apostles and officials present. The dedicatory prayer was offered by apostle Orson Pratt. At the close of the prayer President Young delivered an appropriate address.

A few days later Charles O. Card was appointed superintendent of construction and in the same month the excavation for the foundation of the temple was begun under the direction of Ralph Smith. By the 20th of the following July, rock hauling was commenced for the extension, under the direction of Joseph Hill. The foundation was dug seven feet wide but only two feet deep because of the solid foundation underneath consisting of compact gravel. A large force of men were engaged to quarry rock in Logan Canyon, make roads, and lime. Several new industries grew out of the construction. There was a sawmill and lime kiln built from which practically all the timber and lime for the temple were obtained. John Parry was master mason and Truman O. Angel, Jr. was the architect.

August 29th of that year, President Brigham Young died and his successor, President John Taylor, assumed the responsibility for the completion of this wonderful building. By September 19th, the work has been so advanced that it was ready for the laying of the corner stones and on this day at the hour of noon was set for this important work.

Of the Twelve Apostles present were President John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Brigham Young, Jr., Albert Carrington and Counselors John W. Young and Daniel H. Wells. The Presidents of the Seventies were A. P. Rockwood, Horace S. Eldridge and John Van Cott. The presiding Bishopric: Edward Hunter and Counselors Leonard W. Hardy and Robert T. Burton. Many of the local and other officers of the Church were also present.

A large number of people from all parts of the Valley had stone of the temple. At noon a magnificent procession headed by the Logan and Wellsville bands, marched to the Temple grounds.

President John Taylor made the opening address where he emphasized the importance of carrying out the building of the temple as outlined by President Young. The southeast corner stone was laid with the help of the Apostles and Patriarch John Smith. President Taylor said, “This principal corner stone is laid by the Twelve. The Twelve perform this act in honor of the Great God, and may it remain immovable and may the whole fabric be erected that the Saints may have a place to worship God acceptably, and administer His ordinances, and the Son of God have a place whereon to lay his head.” At the laying of the southwest corner stone, the prayer was offered by L. W. Hardy in behalf of the Presiding Bishopric. At the laying of the northwest corner stone, the High Priests, and at the laying of the northeast corner stone, President H. S. Eldredge offered the prayer in behalf of the Seventies.

By the close of the year, the walls of the foundation were built to the level of the ground and were then securely protected against the inclement winter weather. Further work on the building was postponed for the season, but was resumed early in the following spring. During the year the walls were brought to the first string course, and at the close of the year 1879, they were finished to half way between the first and second string courses. By the fall of 1880 the walls were built up to the square, a height of eighty-five feet from the ground. From here the work progressed rapidly and by the fall of 1882 the mason work was finished. The turrets and battlements were erected and from then on the work progressed steadily until May 15th, 1884, when this magnificent building was completed and ready for dedication. It was with almost inexpressible happiness and great satisfaction that the people saw the sacred house finished.

Saturday May 17th, 1884, the Temple was dedicated. It was an auspicious day that had been looked forward to with intense interest by the people. The weather was delightful and hundreds of people from all parts of the Valley, Utah and other territories gathered for the occasion.

The dedicatory services were conducted on Saturday and repeated Sunday and Monday in order to give the large number of people an opportunity to participate. The Presidency of the Church, Apostles and all the Quorums of the Priesthood were represented. President John Taylor of the Church, offered the dedicatory prayer and it and the general services were similar to those of the Kirtland Temple.

The building as constructed was 171 feet long, 95 feet wide and 85 feet high to the square. It had an octagon tower at the east and west ends. The east tower was 170 feet high and the west tower 165 feet. The towers were thirty feet square with castellated summits from which ascended wooden towers and copulas which were surmounted with silver balls and vanes.

June 2007 wedding at the Logan TempleThe walls of the temple were strengthened by buttresses, twenty-eight in number, each of which was three feet wide and four feet at the bottom. They diminished in size towards the top. The natural color of the rock from which the walls were constructed was very dark so they were painted a pleasing tint.

The construction of the temple cost approximately $608,000.00. Of this amount the Church appropriated $37,000.00 and the people in Cache Valley and northern Utah donated the remainder in cash, labor and supplies. This was a great undertaking at that time and shows what can be done by strong determination and united effort. To construct the temple it took 1,000,000 feet of lumber, 256,000 cubic feet of rock, which weighed nearly 20,000 tons; 18,000 bushels of lime for mortar for the walls, 96,000 bushels of sand and 40,000 pounds of plaster of paris. 24,000 pounds of white lead for paint, 5000 pounds of rope to build and bind scaffolding, 24,000 pounds of nails, 13,000 pounds of metal for roofing and large quantities of glass for the windows were also used.

The Temple will always stand as a monument of hard labor, sacrifice and sincere devotion to a cause of the early settlers of Logan and Cache Valley. Upon entering the Valley from any point it is the first object to greet the eye. It stands out in bold relief and at certain hours of the day when the sun’s rays strike it, it has a beautiful luster about it. Hundreds of tourists and strangers have praised its location and the style of architecture. It will always be the most important landmark in northern Utah and as evidence of how well the early settlers in this section builded. [sic]