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smaller than the one of which we send you a draft. This temple is to be built in the square marked, figure first, and to be built where the circle is, which has a cross on it; on the north and south of the plot where the line is drawn, is to be laid off for barns, stables, etc., for the use of the city, so that no barns or stables will be in the city among the houses, the ground to be occupied by these must be laid off according to order.
On the north and south' are to be laid off the farms for the agriculturist, and sufficient quantity of land to supply the whole plot; and if it cannot be laid off without going to quite a distance from the city, there, there must also be some laid off on the east and west.
When this square is laid off and supplied, lay off another in the same way, and so fill up the world in these last days, and let every man live in the city for this is the City of Zion. All the streets are of one width, being eight perches wide. Also the space around the outer edge of the painted squares, is to be eight perches between the temple and the street on every side.
No one lot, in this city, is to contain more than one house, and that to be built twenty-five feet back from the street, leaving a small yard in front, to be planted in a grove, according to the taste of the builder the rest of the lot for gardens, etc., all of the houses to be built of brick and stone.
The names of the temples to be built on the painted squares, as represented on the plot of the City of Zion, which is now about to be forwarded thither; numbers 10, 11 and 12, are to be called House of the Lord, for the President of the High and Most Holy Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of the Son of God, upon Mount Zion of New Jerusalem. Numbers 7, 8, 9, the sacred apostolic repository. for the use of the bishop. Numbers 4, 5, and 6, the holy evangelical house, for the high priesthood of the Holy Order of God. Numbers 1, 2, and 3, the House of the Lord for the Elders of Zion, an ensign to the nations. Numbers 22, 23, 24, House of the Lord for the Presidency of the High Priesthood after the order of Aaron, a standard for the people. Numbers 19, 20 and 21, House of the Lord, for the High Priesthood after the order of Aaron, the law of the Kingdom of Heaven, messenger to the people. Numbers 16, 17 and 18. House of the Lord, for the teachers in Zion, messenger to the church. Numbers 13, 14 and 15, House of the Lord for the deacons in Zion, helps in the government. Underneath must be written on each house, “Holiness to the Lord”.
The letter of June 25, changes the description of temples 19, 20 and 21, to "house of the Lord, the law of the Kingdom of Heaven, and messenger to the people; for the high priesthood after the order of Aaron.
A detailed description of the first temple to be built and which belonged to group 10, 11 and 12, is contained in the June 25th letter, also, but its inclusion would probably not be of interest to the readers of this book. The general features may be summarized as follows:—The dimensions were to be 87 feet by 61 feet, ten feet of the length being for a stairway; the materials were to be stone and brick; the height, two stories; the main assembly room was to contain two pulpits, one on each side; the seats were to be enclosed in pews and were to be constructed so that the occupant could turn around and face either pulpit; gothic arches were to be built on both doors and windows.
An analysis of this description of the City plot reveals a number of distinct objects that the planners were striving to attain.
Permanency was to be achieved by permitting no buildings to be erected in the city with less enduring materials than brick and stone. In those days steel and cement construction, so useful in making buildings fireproof, was unknown. Stone and brick represented the final word in enduring qualities, hence they were designated as the exclusive building material for temples, houses, etc.
Provisions against crowding were made in a number of ways. Since the gathering of large numbers within limited areas, and the resulting, conjested slums, has come to be one of the most serious, menacing, and at the same time, difficult problems that confronts modern cities, it is of interest to observe how it was proposed to prevent such conditions from arising. To begin with, one notes the broad streets, 8 rods wide, which means sunlight and air space, and the possibility of parking with grass, trees, shrubbery and flowers, thus providing a necessary condition for the maintenance of clean, healthy thoroughfares on which everybody spends a part, and some most of their time. Next, the arrangement and size of lots, attracts attention. Apartment houses, where large numbers of families live in the same building, were not contemplated here. A building site of 4 rods by 20, providing small, but comfortable, space for gardens and grounds, was to be placed in the possession of each family. The square mile, in addition to providing 24 blocks for public buildings, would comfortably accomodate, it was found, from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand people. When population increased sufficiently to warrant it, additional mile squares were to be laid off rather than allow any more to settle in the former area. So long as these features were adhered to, it is certain that no congested districts could develop.
Privacy and quiet surroundings for the home were insured by requiring each building to be 25 feet from the street, by making the lots long, and by arranging them so that no two lots faced each other across the street. On one block the lots were to face east and west and on the other north and south. In this way each house, instead of facing another one across the street would face the gardens of those who lived in the opposite block. Should these gardens be allowed to run to weeds, the view would be most seedy and deadening, but if well kept the effect would be to soothe the nerves and provide a daily “return to nature” for the city worker. Such a novelty in the arrangement of building space, it is needless to say, would not appeal to many, but like other innovations, it could be made attractive and there are positive advantages connected with it, that make for quiet and privacy for the home. On one tier of blocks this arrangement was broken into by the fact that it measured 60 rods by 40 rods and in order to make all the lots the same size it was necessary to have them all face in the same direction.
i cf., H. H. Bancroft, History of Utah, footnote p. 26.
Centralness and convenience of location for public buildings were to be realized by reserving twenty-four lots near the center of the square mile for public buildings which were to be called temples. Those living in the extreme corner would be only from four to six blocks away. Children attending school would hardly find it necessary to use conveyances at all for such distances. The use of diagonal alleys from the corners to the center of the mile square would largely remove the relative disadvantages resulting from greater distance from public buildings, but such alleys are not provided for in the original plot. The square blocks rule supreme, except in the large, 60x40 tier of blocks running through the center.
It is quite clear that if the city grew to large proportions and additional square miles were laid off, as was proposed, that some changes would be necessary. For instance, a building or
. temple for the Presidency of the church would not be required in each square mile. If the square mile were maintained as the unit, and each such division had its own set of public buildings, it would still be necessary to have some buildings in which the city as a whole would be interested. The first square mile, since it contained the temple site, would, no doubt, be considered the center. Nothing is said in the explanation of the plot concerning any matters going beyond the first square mile, except that additional squares similar to it were to be added as needed. Full centrality could be maintained only by adding square miles adjoining the first one in an artificial manner and cities do not grow that way ordinarily. It is quite certain that had the city grown to larger proportions it would have grown most rapidly on the side nearest the Missouri River, and then, the center of population would have shifted gradually in that direction.
Civic cleanliness received consideration in the unusual provision that barns, stables, etc., must be built outside the residence district, on the north and south sides of the mile square. Zion's farmers were not to live on their farms, but were to have homes in the city. If they desired to have animals near their homes, they must keep them in the restricted districts to the north and south which had been set aside for that purpose. Doing chores would not be a small task under such arrangements and the operation of a
farm would also be attended by many inconveniences. Doubtless, most of the farmers would build their barns on their farms rather than in the “barnyard district” and would find themselves constantly beset with the temptation to close their town houses, at least during the summer, and live on the farm, where houses, barns, outbuildings, etc., could be so arranged that the tremendous loss of time involved in needlessly going back and forth over long distances could be avoided. The elimination of stables, pig pens, etc., from the city would tend greatly toward more cheerful and sanitary surroundings. It could be accomplished only by higher cost through both waste in profitable garbage disposal, and in much greater inconvenience. If the city grew to large size and the people became city workers instead of farmers, this difficulty would tend to dwindle and the advantages of the arrangement to increase.
Community life as opposed to rural isolation was sought for by providing the farmer with a house in the city and a farm in the neighborhood. On the side of the Mormon plan are a number of advantages which possibly more than offset the additional inconvenience which such an arrangement certainly involves. The isolation of rural life with its educational and social limitations, has proven a very difficult problem in the past. If the farmer can live in the town or city and can give his children the advantages which the cities afford as the storehouses of civilization, his gains consist of better knowledge, higher culture, and a larger measure of the joys of association as opposed to the dreary loneliness of isolated life.
Can the farmer be a successful farmer and not live on his farm?
These, then, were in the main, the considerations which attracted these early Mormon planners and city builders.
Little attention, indeed, was given to planning cities in those days, and these Mormon efforts may be regarded as marking a distinct advance along a line which has today become a very important matter in all large cities. Joseph Smith's mental penetration once more impresses us. Many problems which confront cities today were not considered in this plot of the “City of Zion." Some of these would have come up for consideration as the city grew and could have been handled satisfactorily without altering the original design. Others would have required alteration. One is struck forcibly by the extreme importance which is given to the religious atmosphere which surrounds everything. True, it was to be a "sacred city" and this fact must always be kept in mind. Temples, a Bishops' Storehouse, and schools are the only
public buildings specifically mentioned in the description.1 modern city dweller would wonder where the buildings for the civil government were to be, where the art galleries, the public libraries, the museums, the aquariums, the zoological gardens, the parks, the public baths, the playgrounds, etc., were to find a place. Clearly the central sections, devoted to public purposes, in the new mile square units, would have to be devoted to different uses than church buildings alone if Zion were to become a city of consequence in the modern sense.
Consideration of such present day problems of city planning should not blind us to a realization of the importance of many of the problems that were considered, at a time when cities grew up haphazardly without any design and a further appreciation of a design which served a very important practical purpose in helping to reclaim large areas of the nations waste lands in the arid West. This plan of building cities, i.e., living in an organized town and farming the surrounding country with the town as a base, has been followed almost entirely by the Mormon people in their long history of successful colonization in the Western states. The method has made possible organized action as opposed to individual effort. The significance of this fact can hardly be everestimated. The Mormon pioneers encountered a long list of special difficulties which individual effort would not have been able to surmount. Let us enumerate some of them :
1. The winters were often severe and summer drouths com
2. Water for irrigation was usually a long way off and an
immense amount of effort was required to con
struct the canals along the hillsides of the canyons. 3. The crickets, the grasshoppers and the ground squirrels
were numerous and at times threatened the entire
crops. 4. There were no outside markets within a thousand or more
miles for any surplus that might be produced. This was overcome in part by the discovery of gold in California and the heavy immigration which fol
lowed. 5. There was no currency in real money and barter had to
be relied on in exchange until local script was de
vised. 6. There was little capital and scanty means with which to
1 Orson Pratt says tabernacles and meetinghouses were also to be built. of Discourses, vol. 24, p. 26, et.seq.