Jon Bryan of Jacobsen Construction, builders of the new (or old) Provo City Center Temple, was the presenter at the Sons of Utah Pioneers Settlement Canyon Chapter monthly potluck dinner and business meeting on Wednesday, April 6 at the wonderful TATC in Tooele.
Jon tells of the many miracles and “outside of the box” building technologies and unity it took to pull off this engineering marvel. After being all but destroyed by fire, the designers found that the old brick and lime mortar walls were enough intact to allow them to apply some ground-breaking inventions to shore up the walls to much stronger than they had ever been before. At one time the entire building sat some 50 feet high on stilts so that new foundations, some going as deep as 95 feet, could be poured. The inner tower, which needed to be taken down in the 1970s because its heavy weight was causing the walls to bow out of shape, was reintroduced with structural steel framework that was anchored into those same 95-foot-deep foundations.
This type of saving and rebuilding construction had only been used twice before in the world, and this project was much more massive than the jobs completed in Europe. Special gray slate shingles were brought in to bring it all together. The old lime and sand mortar was carefully removed from the existing bricks one at a time in place and new modern cement-based mortar was put back in before all the bricks were cleaned until they shone as a fitting offering to Jesus Christ, whose house this is. A monstrous “Ditch Witch” was employed that allowed the workers to excavate underneath and outside of the temple while simultaneously laying cement. Large construction vehicles as well as cement trucks were able to enter under the building on one end and exit on the other. Even the trees and fountains on the temple grounds were deeply excavated and then filled with special materials designed to give them stability and room to grow. Everything about this old/new temple is a breathtaking and awe-inspiring story showing that if God and man work hand in hand, nothing is impossible.
The Tooele Settlement Canyon Chapter of the National Sons of Utah Pioneers organization meets the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the TATC building to enjoy great food and learn from presentations such as this. The presenters for the Thursday, May 5 meeting will be LouAnn and Robert Blakely. They will present the history of the Mormon trail from Nauvoo, Illinois to Winter Quarters in Florence, Nebraska. Come learn about this not often taught part of the famous Mormon Trail through a PowerPoint presentation and personal experience.