Of the $143,400 contributed in tithing during 1854, how much was actually paid in cash?
a. Adobe bricks
One other downtown building, the city’s most famous, the Salt Lake Temple, would have been built of adobe if Brigham Young’s original desire had prevailed. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the sun-dried brick and once said he would much prefer an adobe house to a house of stone.
He proved his sincerity by building his two residences, the Lion House and the Beehive House, of adobe. Both were plastered so that their adobe construction was not apparent. The Lion house was given a finish that simulated stone. Both still stand as evidence of the durability of sun-bake brick. Beautifully restored and maintained they are now downtown showplaces.
For younger folk and others not familiar with adobe construction, an interior wall section of the Beehive House was left exposed to show the adobes. The sunbaked walls of the Lion House were approximately two feet thick, says James F. McCrea of the architecture department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Brigham Young, in a general conference sermon delivered October 9, 1852, stated his personal theory that adobe brick containing small pebbles would eventually become as hard and durable as stone. He said that adobes would outlast Sanpete County limestone, Red Butte Canyon sandstone, or Emigration Canyon limestone. All of these materials were being advocated at the time, for construction of the Salt Lake Temple.
Fortunately, said McCrea, neither adobe nor any of the other suggested materials was the final choice. Apparently, Little Cottonwood Canyon granite was not considered until work on the temple was re-started following the arrival of Johnston’s Army in the late 1850s. At that point, the granite superseded all other materials under consideration, including President Young’s adobe.
However, he had ample precedent to back up his partiality to sunbaked brick. He might have cited adobe buildings in other places such as Mesopotamia or Iran that were still standing after thousands of years. In the arid southwestern United States, some adobe houses had been occupied for nearly a thousand years. A five-story adobe structure in Taos, New Mexico, has been occupied for at least 800 years. The Spanish missions of California already were old in President Young’s day.
Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Chronicles of Courage (Salt Lake City: Utah Publishing Company, 1994), 5:250-251.