St. Patricks's Cathedral, New York City

The following is an excerpt from St. Patrick's Cathedral by Leland A. Cook

"Roman Catholic cathedral church of the Archdiocese of New York, on 50th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. It was built by the architect James Renwick during the administration of Archbishop John Hughes. Although it was estimated that building the cathedral would take eight years when work began in 1859, the project took much longer because of its interruption by the Civil War.

During construction St. Patrick's Old Cathedral on Prince and Mott streets was destroyed by fire (1866) and then rebuilt and rededicated by John Cardinal McCloskey (1868), who also dedicated the new cathedral on its completion on 25 May 1879; the final cost of construction was $1.9 million. McCloskey appointed William Quinn, vicar of the archdiocese, as the first pastor of the new cathedral.

The archbishop's house and the rectory were added from 1882 to 1884 and the school opened in 1882. Major additions to St. Patrick's were completed under Archbishop Michael Corrigan. The building of the spires was begun in 1885 at a cost of $200,000. Funds for building the Chapel of St. John were donated to the cathedral by Corrigan, who also began construction of the Lady Chapel in 1901, completed during the tenure of John Cardinal Farley.

In 1945 the exterior of the cathedral was renovated extensively at a cost of more than $3 million. Later improvements included the great rose window, bronze doors on the 5th Avenue side of the cathedral, and an elevator to the choir loft. The cathedral was visited by Popes Paul VI (1964) and John Paul II (1979). Wakes were held there for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Governor Alfred E. Smith, and Prime Minister Jan Ignace Paderewski of Poland.

St. Patrick's Gothic exterior is four hundred feet (120 meters) long and 174 (fifty-three meters) wide and seats about 2,400. The parish is bounded by 59th Street, 3rd Avenue, 44th Street, and 7th Avenue and encompasses 302 city blocks.

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