The Old Cathedral, also known as the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, is one of St. Louis’ most iconic landmarks, renowned for its beautiful architecture and rich history. As the first Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River, the Old Cathedral has played a significant role in the history of St. Louis and the Catholic Church. Today, the church is a beloved symbol of the city’s rich cultural heritage and continues to attract visitors from all over the world.
History of the Old Cathedral
The Old Cathedral was built in the early 19th century as a parish church for St. Louis’ growing Catholic community. The church was constructed in the Greek Revival style, which was popular at the time, and featured a simple, rectangular design.
In 1835, the church was elevated to the status of a cathedral, making it the first Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River. Over the years, the Old Cathedral underwent several renovations and additions, including the installation of beautiful stained-glass windows and the addition of a bell tower.
In 1871, the Old Cathedral was severely damaged by a fire, which destroyed much of the church’s interior. The church was rebuilt in the Romanesque Revival style, which combined elements of both Romanesque and Gothic design.
During the rebuilding process, several new features were added to the church, including a new rose window, a new altar, and a new bell tower. The church also received several new additions, including a sacristy and a baptistery.
In 1961, the Old Cathedral was designated a basilica by Pope John XXIII in recognition of its historical and cultural significance. Today, the Old Cathedral is a beloved St. Louis landmark and continues to serve as an important symbol of the city’s rich Catholic heritage.
Design and Construction of the Old Cathedral
The Old Cathedral is renowned for its beautiful architecture, which combines elements of both Romanesque and Gothic design. The church features a striking façade, with twin bell towers and a large central rose window.
The interior of the cathedral is equally impressive, with beautiful stained-glass windows and intricate details throughout the building. The church also contains several historic artifacts, including the tomb of Pierre Laclede, the founder of St. Louis.
Visiting the Old Cathedral
Visitors to the Old Cathedral can enjoy stunning views of the beautiful architecture and rich history of this iconic St. Louis landmark. The church is open year-round and welcomes visitors of all faiths.
Visitors can take guided tours of the church, which provide an in-depth look at the history and significance of this important St. Louis attraction. The church also hosts regular services, including mass and other religious ceremonies, which are open to the public.
Plan Your Visit to the Old Cathedral in St. Louis
The Old Cathedral is a must-visit attraction in St. Louis, offering visitors a chance to experience the rich history and stunning architecture of one of America’s oldest Catholic cathedrals. So why not plan your visit today and discover the beauty and majesty of the Old Cathedral for yourself?
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the Old Cathedral welcomes visitors of all faiths to explore its beautiful architecture and rich history.
Yes, visitors can take guided tours of the church, which provide an in-depth look at the history and significance of this iconic St. Louis attraction.
No, there is no admission fee to visit the Old Cathedral, though donations are always appreciated.
The Old Cathedral was built in the early 19th century and was the first Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River. The church has undergone several renovations and additions over the years and is now one of St. Louis’ most iconic landmarks.
The Old Cathedral has played a significant role in the history of St. Louis and the Catholic Church, serving as a parish church and later as a cathedral. The church is also renowned for its beautiful architecture, which combines elements of both Romanesque and Gothic design.