Outside the Washington National Cathedral


This cathedral, officially the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, had its beginning in 1893. The foundation stone was laid in 1907 in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt, and the Cathedral was completed in 1990 – 83 years later – when the “final finial” was placed in the presence of President George H.W. Bush.


Built of Indiana limestone, the Cathedral is the sixth largest in the world. Its design is unique and not copied from any earlier building. The building is shaped like a cross, with a long nave – a tenth of a mile- and two shorter transepts.




The Cathedral’s architectural style is Gothic, characterized by great height and the use of pointed arches, boss stones, ribbed vaulting,  large windows, and flying buttresses.








When visiting these wonderful historical sites there’s always something you miss or at least I miss. I tend to learn more about the site when I finally get ready to post about it on my blog. Although I did notice these Gargoyles, I totally missed the fact that Darth Vader was one of the Gargoyles on the Cathedral! Here’s an explanation.

In the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.

You would need binoculars to see it so I don’t feel too bad about totally missing it!

My thoughts and prayers are with the people in the areas of our country hit by devastating tornadoes and other weather related tragedies. Praying that God would sustain them while they work to recover.

Photobucket replaced all my photos with blurred out versions and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.

About Ellenhttps://happywonderer.com/I am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

10 thoughts on “Outside the Washington National Cathedral

  1. Wow…that’s crazy that Darth Vadar is on the building. I had no idea it took so long to complete either. I am in awe of all the detail on churches like this….amazing.

  2. You have great pictures of it. It’s crazy how our oldest cathedral(s) are just babies compared to the European ones. Do people actually get married here, or is it “just for show?”

    • People do get married there if you have the right connections by going to one of the Cathedral schools or having a relative that serves there, etc.
      They have regular worship services every day in the Cathedral.
      The one thing I noticed is that the Tour guides and the brochures seem to downplay the Christian aspect of the Cathedral on the side of diversity as if it’s some general community center…

  3. I remember my visit to this beautiful cathedral. Remember that my lens wasn’t wide enough to capture its immensity without getting far enough away. Beautiful images, Ellen.

  4. Beautiful post, Ellen though sad to hear that it’s presented more like a community center…

    I was there with my choir group years ago. I think we got to actually sing there for a little bit. I need to go back to soak in the beauty.

  5. I’m loving your photos! This was my home church for a time, and just seeing this post has made me nostalgic! My brother sang in a boy’s choir. We used to play in the church and on the grounds. so many nooks and crannies! There was a garden outside, I remember.

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