The Washington National Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral located in Washington, D.C. Also known by its official name Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, It is also considered as the fourth tallest structure in Washington D.C.
Washington National Cathedral History
Plans for the construction of the Washington National Cathedral started when the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation was granted a charter from Congress to establish a cathedral in 1893. An area on Mount Saint Alban was chosen. A leading Anglican church architect in Britain, George Frederick Bodley was chosen as the head architect with Henry Vaughan chosen as the supervising architect.
Construction of the cathedral commenced on September 29, 1907 with the laying of the cornerstone. Although unfinished, the Bethlehem Chapel was opened for services in 1912 and has done so daily ever since. Construction of the cathedral took a brief hiatus during World War I. But when construction resumed, both Bodley and Vaughan had died. American architect Philip Hubert Frohman took over as principal architect. Construction ended when the last finial was laid in 1990. Decorative carvings and statuary work continued on and is ongoing.
Washington National Cathedral Features
The Washington National Cathedral design is a mix of influences from different Gothic architectural styles in the Middle Ages as seen from the flying buttresses, pointed arches, ceiling vaulting and carved stone decorations among other things. The Gloria in Excelsis Tower of the cathedral rises 91 meters or 301 feet above ground. Situated at 206 meters or 676 feet above sea level, it is considered the highest point in Washington.
The central tower comes with two full sets of bells, which is unique in North America. It includes the 53-bell carillon and a 10-bell peal used for change ringing.
Most of the building was constructed using a buff-colored Indiana limestone placed over a traditional masonry core. Use of load bearing steel was limited to the roof trusses. Concrete was significantly used in the central tower to support the bell structure.
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