Walk In and Feel Inspired: Ensuring the Future of the National Cathedral

November 23, 2015 by Rob Nieweg

On November 4, 2015, our friends at Washington National Cathedral graciously hosted the opening plenary of the National Trust’s annual preservation conference, PastForward. Twelve hundred people gathered in the Nave of the Cathedral to celebrate a year’s worth of historic preservation successes and to luxuriate beneath the towering ceiling of the 1907 landmark building with its exemplary stonework and evocative stained glass.

Our evening at the National Cathedral began with welcoming remarks by the Very Reverend Gary R. Hall, Dean of Washington National Cathedral. Please take a moment to view this video from the plenary, which speaks to the Cathedral’s place in our national life and to the ongoing challenges of preserving this extraordinary place.

Of course, Washington National Cathedral itself is an inspiring story of the power of preservation. On August 23, 2011, the Cathedral was struck by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which seriously harmed the Gothic structure inside and out. The Cathedral’s stewards carefully assessed the damage, secured the structure, and then re-opened a short time later to serve its community.

Since then, with the strong support of its friends, the National Cathedral has made remarkable progress to repair the earthquake damage and restore the landmark. Phase One of the project is complete, including a full restoration of the Nave ceiling, repairs and reinforcement of the six flying buttresses on the oldest part of the Cathedral, and 12 percent of the necessary exterior repairs. The American Express Foundation and National Trust provided financial assistance for Phase One, and helped increase public awareness of the National Cathedral’s preservation challenges through our Partners in Preservation program.

At the same time, however, the National Cathedral continues to face another $22 million in earthquake repair expenses, including restoration of the pinnacles on the Central Tower and flying buttress and pinnacle repairs along the exterior of the Nave and West End of the Cathedral.

As stonemason Joe Alonso explains in the video, this “hand-made building … needs all our help to keep it going.” Please share the video and support the preservation of Washington National Cathedral.

Through Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, your votes will help unlock $2 million in preservation funding for historic Main Street districts across America.

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