February 4, 2022 - 2:49 PM

Cathedral Construction and Restoration Work Continues!

Since we last posted about the Cathedral's ongoing construction and restoration projects, much progress and many new developments have come to pass. Visitors to the Cathedral will be familiar by now with the sight of scaffolding in the Crossing, and the sound of drilling and hammering. While this work is scheduled to continue for the next few months, we thank all of our congregants, guests, and friends for your patience with the noise and occasional disruptions.

There are several overlapping projects currently underway. The largest of these is the Crossing Dome restoration: one of the largest interior domes in the United States, the Cathedral's is surfaced with Guastavino tiles and has been both an architectural and aesthetic gem since its construction in 1909. Scaffolds are now being erected to reach up to the highest peaks of the dome in order to fully clean and restore its strength and beauty for generations to come. This work is in addition to the concurrent exterior construction on the outside of the dome, which is being clad in copper to protect it from the elements.

The strength and durability of the stonework throughout the Cathedral requires regular inspection and maintenance to ensure its long-term health. For the next few weeks, a large crane will be onsite, moving throughout the space so that experts can take a close look at each section of the ceiling. The inspection's last task is to examine the great Rose Window and make sure that highlight of the Cathedral's stained glass remains undamaged by wind and rain. As the crane negotiates around colums and moves from the Crossing to the Nave and then the Narthex, some areas may need to be roped off for visitor safety and egress.

Finally, and perhaps the most eagerly awaited project currently taking place inside the Cathedral, deinstallation and cleaning of the Great Organ pipes has begun! Lovers of organ music have been waiting for this moment since the 2019 fire silenced the Great Organ's magnificent voice. Each pipe must be removed, inspected, and thoroughly cleaned before it can be reinstalled and the organ played once more. The number of pipes and pieces, their delicacy and need for safe storage, means that the Ambulatory and several of the Cathedral's chapels will be closed, with access to the Chapel of St. Ansgar through the North Transept.

All of this work is part of the Cathedral's joyfully busy life, but we know it also means the addition of noise and limited access for our guests. Once again, we thank you wholeheartedly for your cooperation as we continue the process of stewarding and conserving the Cathedral as a sacred space for all.


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