As a result, the
project has seen Baltimore's Basilica of the National Shrine of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary go from dark and somber to light
and bright. Architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who also designed the
U.S. Capitol, designed the cathedral.
windows replaced the heavy stained-glass windows, installed in the
1940s, and the "battleship gray" walls were repainted a cream color. In
addition, new pews were installed.
Historic Trust is the nonprofit organization overlooking the
restoration. Workers are just putting the finishing touches.
which sits on a hill in the Mount Vernon, will reopen Nov. 4, marking
the historic building’s 200th anniversary with a week of activities,
including a concert, tours and an interreligious service. The
festivities will close with a procession of the country's Catholic
bishops and a mass Nov. 12.
It was the
highest point in the city when the land was acquired in 1803 by John
Carroll, the nation's first Catholic bishop. The cathdedral’s
cornerstone was laid in 1806. It was completed in 1821. In 1937, Pope
Pius XI designated it a basilica.
nation’s oldest Catholic cathedral has undergone a $32-million
restoration, with the intention of returning it to the purity of its
19th-century original double-dome design.