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0261 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 261 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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As MONTELL was not able to do much during the tedious negotiations that gradually led to the above-mentioned result, he decided to return to Peking before me. This he could indeed do with a good conscience, having checked the safe arrival of all the collections and settled the controversy about the roof-covering material in a satisfactory way. In the original estimate it had been stipulated that the double roof should be covered with yellow tiles; but thanks to the generosity of Mr BENDIX even this detail was to be made in strict conformity with the original, since he offered to stand the expense of the 25,000 copper shingles required for the covering of the roofs and the coating of the shingles with leaf-gold.

Thus, on April 21st MONTELL flew to Seattle, whence he proceeded by boat, arriving in Peking on May 11th. Here he made further purchases to complete the furnishing of the temple.

After the necessary estimates of costs had been received, the contracts for the erection of the temple were let to DONALD BOOTHBY, the architect, and R. J. SIP-CHEN & Co., contractors.

It was decided that the temple should be located close to the Hall of Science, a most conspicuous and favourable site. As this site, however, was a piece of reclaimed ground, the building had to rest upon twenty-seven wooden piles. These were 65 feet in length, and on their tops caps and beams of reinforced concrete were poured. On May 4th the first piles were driven, and after the »groundbreaking » ceremony on the 9th the floor of reinforced concrete slab construction was laid and the building of the 7o-foot 10-inch square platform begun. A few days later the stone bases for all the sixty columns of the superstructure were located and the columns and cross beams erected on them. By July 7th all the columns were up, and two weeks later the donor dedicated the temple to A Century of Progress in the presence of several prominent persons, among them the Swedish and Chinese Consuls.

In the meantime the small pieces of carved wood were fitted into their proper places, each piece having been given a coat of prime paint to protect it against the elements.

The splendid building began to take shape. Both the upper and lower cornices, or more correctly, the many rows of decorative brackets or »roof-beard that are so typical of Chinese temple and palace architecture, were put together by means of wooden dowels, very few nails being used.

About May 25th the donor decided that the whole double-decked roof should be covered with copper shingles manufactured in BENDIX factories in South Bend, and that the 25,000 shingles should be covered with deep gold leaf of 23.12 carat. The ten-foot high finial was made at a Chicago sheet metal factory (the one made in Peking arrived too late to be used), while all the other symbolical copper figures on the ridges and the corners of the roof had been made by a coppersmith in Peking.