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!
I guess I’ll have to visit this marvelous cathedral again. I have posts on the interior of the cathedral and the Bishop’s Garden here, here, and here.
Thank you to Beth and Sally for hosting InSPIREd Sunday.