Meghan Drueding writes for PreservationNation, a weblog of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
Built between 1907 and 1990 — the 25th anniversary of the final stone’s placement was yesterday — the cathedral is one of the most prominent houses of worship in the country. (Architecture buffs also know the Indiana limestone building for its 3,000-plus carved creatures, including a grotesque in the form of Darth Vader.) After the quake, the cathedral’s leadership went into action, raising $2 million for a 12-week stabilization program needed to make the space safe for visitors again.
An additional $8 million was raised for the engineering and implementation of Phase One of the restoration efforts. ($100,000 came through Partners in Preservation, an American Express grants program in partnership with the National Trust. The Trust, which counts the Cathedral as one of its National Treasures, has also provided technical assistance and support for the restoration.)
Phase One concluded in June, and National Trust digital content director Julia Rocchi and I got to see the results up close and personal a few weeks ago. Alonso and director of preservation and facilities Jim Shepherd showed us the interior ceiling repairs and the six steel-reinforced flying buttresses on the oldest part of the cathedral, as well as the repaired cracks, cleaned and re-pointed joints, and added lightning protection.
Image: Washington National Cathedral at Dusk by Bjohnston024 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons