This article will focus more on the interior layout of the original Temple, as we have previously discussed the meaning of the exterior stonework, as well as the interior rooms of the newly-built restoration of the Temple.
The original architect was William Weeks. To say "architect" is misleading, because Joseph Smith retained the title of Chief Architect for himself, as he was the President of the Church, and the one to whom the revelation of what the temple would look like came. To demonstrate this point, the History of the Church gives us insight. In the sixth volume, page 196, Joseph writes,
In the afternoon [5 February 1844], Elder William Weeks (whom I had employed as architect of the Temple,) came in for instruction. I instructed him in relation to the circular windows designed to light the offices in the dead work of the arch between stories. He said that round windows in the broad side of a building were a violation of all the known rules of architecture, and contended that they should be semicircular - that the building was too low for round windows. I told him I would have the circles, if he had to make the Temple ten feet higher than it was originally calculated; that one light at the centre of each circular window would be sufficient to light the whole room; that when the whole building was thus illuminated, the effect would be remarkably grand. 'I wish you to carry out my designs. I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me.'
The Nauvoo Illinois Temple is an exact blueprint of the original as compared in the following two photos:
Louis R. Chaffin. Notice the small building on the bottom left of the photo. It was probably the Temple Recorders Office.
The west end of the Hall also had pulpits like the east end. The west end's pulpits were reserved for the Aaronic Priesthood, and bore the initials: P.A.P. (President of the Aaronic Priesthood) at the highest pulpits; the next lower had P.P.Q. (President of the Priests Quorum); the next lower had P.T.Q. (President of the Teachers Quorum) and the table at the bottom P.D.Q. (President of the Deacons Quorum).
On 17 September 1846, the mob took control of the Temple. Nearly a month later, first reports were given (in the Hancock Eagle, 5 October 1846) of the desecration of the House of the Lord at Nauvoo.
The damage done to the Temple is considerable. Some who have examined it say that less that $1,000 will not cover the damage. Holes have been cut through the floors, the stone oxen in the basement have been considerably disfigured, horns and ears dislodged, and nearly all torn loose from their standing. Names have been chiseled in the wood engraving in the upward passage, in a very careless manner - clearly portraying the mechanical ingenuity and refinement of the authors.
The House of the Lord stood for just two years and one month before it was burned down by Joseph Agnew, an arsonist. The town of Nauvoo stood vacant of mobocracy from 1846 until 9 October 1848, when Joseph Agnew burned the building. From A Comprehensive History of The Church by Elder B. H. Roberts, we read on pages 22 and 23 of volume 3, "One Joseph Agnew, confessed to being the incendiary." In Roberts' footnote to this statement, he writes that he was told this "upon the Authority of M. M. Morrill, mayor of Nauvoo, at the time of [my] visit to the city in the summer of 1885."
The west facade of the House of the Lord (with the Spire and Angel Moroni) stood until at least 1860, according to Presiding Patriarch John Smith, eldest son of Patriarch Hyrum Smith (John Smith to Joseph F. Smith, 18 April 1860, LDS Church archives; also "Sons of the Martyrs' Nauvoo Reunion - 1860", BYU Studies, volume 20, issue 4, p. 356).