Washington National Cathedral Stained-Glass pictures


Staff member
Ncathedralsm.jpgOn January 24, 1791, President George Washington commissioned Major Pierre L Enfant to create a visionary plan for the nation s capital. It was L Enfant who first imagined “a great church for national purposes.” Not until a century later, with support from community leaders such as Charles C. Glover, did plans for building Washington National Cathedral gain momentum.

On January 6, 1893, Congress granted a charter (incorporation papers) to the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia, allowing it to establish a cathedral and institutions of higher learning. Signed by President Benjamin Harrison, this charter is the birth certificate of Washington National Cathedral.
After his consecration in 1896, the Rt. Rev. Henry Yates Satterlee, the first bishop of Washington, secured land on Mount Saint Alban—the most commanding spot in the entire Washington area.

The longest-running construction project in Washington, D.C., history officially began on September 29, 1907, when workmen laid the Cathedral s foundation stone. President Theodore Roosevelt and the Bishop of London spoke to a crowd of ten thousand. The stone itself came from a field near Bethlehem and was set into a larger piece of American granite. On it was the inscription: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
After Bethlehem Chapel opened for services in 1912, the Cathedral quickly became a place for services of national focus, even as it remained under construction.

  • 1918 – President Woodrow Wilson attends official thanksgiving service for the end of the First World War.
  • 1921 – President Warren G. Harding leads all 34 delegates to the Washington Conference on Limitation of Armaments to a special Cathedral service through the “Way of Peace” entrance by Bethlehem Chapel.
  • 1928 – President Calvin Coolidge opens the General Convention of the Episcopal Church at the Cathedral.
  • 1941 – Monthly services begin on behalf of a united people in a time of emergency; community memorial services are held at the Cathedral for World War II soldiers.
  • 1956 – President Woodrow Wilson s tomb in the Cathedral is dedicated.
  • rose.jpg1968 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preaches his last Sunday sermon from the Canterbury Pulpit.
  • 1969 – World leaders gather for President Dwight D. Eisenhower s State Funeral.
  • As construction finished, the Cathedral s place in history was firmly established.
    • 1976 – The Cathedral s nave and west rose window were completed and dedicated in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II and President Gerald Ford.
    • 1982 – The Pilgrim Observation Gallery was completed and opened to the public.
    • 1983 – The final phase of construction began with the setting of the first stone for the west towers.
    • 1990 – The completion of the west towers marked the end of 83 years of construction.
  • The Cathedral was completed 83 years to the day after it was begun (September 29, 1907–September 29, 1990).
  • The first tract of land for the Cathedral site (30 acres) was purchased in 1898 for $245,000. Two other parcels of land were purchased later, bringing the total cost to $291,427 and the total area to 57 acres.
  • Washington National Cathedral is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and the second largest in the United States. (The largest Church in the world is St. Peter s Basilica, Rome. The largest cathedral in the United States is Saint John s, New York City.)
  • navesm.jpgThe total cost of building the Cathedral was $65 million, all of which was raised through private donations.
  • The Cathedral weighs 150,000 tons.
  • The average piece of stone weighs 300 pounds.
  • The heaviest stone in the Cathedral is the 5.5-ton boss over the west balcony.
  • There are 762 boss stones in the Cathedral, 640 located on the nave level.
  • 288 angels adorn the two west towers.
  • The north rose window is the Cathedral s largest stained glass window at 26 feet in diameter.
  • The central tower is 676 feet above sea level, making its top the highest point in the District of Columbia.
  • The largest of the 53 bells of the carillon weighs 24,000 pounds and measures eight feet, eight inches in diameter.
  • There are 110 gargoyles on the Cathedral.
  • There are 215 stained glass windows in the Cathedral.
  • More than 10,500 pieces of stained glass make up the west rose window.
  • There are more than 1,500 separate pieces of needlepoint in the Cathedral.
  • There are 10,650 pipes in the Great Organ.
  • The exterior of the Cathedral is almost the length of two football fields.


Staff member
THe last of the stain glass I think



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Staff member
Notice How I hyphenated stained-glass

in order that the auto tagging system would pick it up as a single tag.
I took these pictures back ion the spring, when we visited the cathedral, My last visit to the cathedral was in 1981 before the west tower was started, since then I have visited many of the great cathedrals in Europe and I must say this one holds its own against those of Europe, for grander and spectacular glass work.
If you haven't been to a great cathedral, religious or not it is a unforgettable experience to revel in mans achievements.
What amazes me is how little it cost as compared to modern buildings.