Washington National Cathedral: The Nation’s House of Prayer

On this date in 1907, construction began on the Washington National Cathedral. In 1990, construction was completed.
National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. (Photo by Carol Highsmith via U.S. Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons) 

On this date in 1907, construction began on the Washington National Cathedral. In 1990, construction was completed.

Here are some things you may not of known about what is known as America’s “National House of Prayer.”

The official name of the cathedral is the Cathedral of Saint Peter and St. Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington.

It’s an Episcopal church, and the sixth-largest cathedral in the world. It’s the second largest in the United States. The largest in the United States is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, which is also an Episcopal Cathedral.

A crowd of more than 20,000 people, including President Theodore Roosevelt, were present at the laying of the National Cathedral’s foundation stone.

The first services were held in 1912 in the unfinished cathedral. They’ve continued daily ever since.

The cathedral is built of Indiana limestone and designed in a variety of Gothic styles. It features representations of each of the 50 states and many more to American history in general.

The outside of the building features numerous gargoyles and grotesques. Over the years, two contests have been held to design grotesques, one of them resulting in a likeness of Darth Vader on the cathedral.

Washington National Cathedral was the site of three presidential funerals, and also the site of the last Sunday sermon given by Martin Luther King Jr., days before he was assassinated in 1968.

Construction was completed with the placement of the final finial by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Our question: Which three presidents had funerals at Washington National Cathedral?

Today is World Heart Day, and Inventors’ Day in Argentina.

It’s unofficially National Coffee Day, Broadway Musicals Day and Veterans of Foreign Wars Day.

It’s the birthday of actor and musician Gene Autry who was born in 1907, musician Jerry Lee Lewis, who turns 81 today, and actress Madeline Kahn who was born in 1947.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1986, the top song in the U.S. was “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis and the News.

The No. 1 movie was “Crocodile Dundee,” while the novel “It” by Stephen King topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

Who was the third U.S. presidential candidate in 1980, whose presence resulted in the cancelations of one presidential debate, and the only vice presidential debate?


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