"A Fitting Monument to The Faith"

Selecting the Site

Initial Design

Construction Begins

Conflicts Halt Construction

Construction Resumes

Design Changes

Completion of Exterior

Construction of Interior

Cathedral Opens for Worship

Drive to Complete the Cathedral


Opening Its Doors to the World

State and National Recognition

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Initial Design

In July 1897, following the establishment of a Cathedral Committee and the initiation of a massive fund raising drive, Bishop Wigger invited several prominent architects to submit proposals for the new Cathedral, including the New York based firms of O'Connor and Metcalf. Ansley Brothers, Schickel and Ditmars, along with Jeremiah O'Rourke and Sons of Newark. On November 11 of that same year, the Committee, after carefully reviewing all four plans, awarded the contract to O'Rourke. The O'Rourke church was conceived of in the English-Irish Gothic style, which would be modified later by O'Rourke's successor. Physical dimensions, however, remained constant over the long years of construction. Hence, the building as it is measured today -- length, three hundred sixty-five feet; nave width (center of column to center of column), fifty feet -- is the same as O'Rourke envisioned it at the turn of the century.

In accepting the commission, O'Rourke pledged to Bishop Wigger that the work would be "a labor of love and not of fees and profits. "

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