The Cathedral of St. Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota is part of the Roman Catholic Church. It stands on Cathedral Hill looking out over downtown Saint Paul. It has a few distinctive features that really make it prominent in the city like the copper dome. The church was opened in 1915 in its current building, though the Catholic religion in Saint Paul was around for many years before that. It is also the fourth cathedral of the archdiocese to bear the name Saint Paul. Last year on March 25, 2009 the cathedral was given the designation as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Vatican also was behind this decision.
In 1904 Archbishop John Ireland decided a cathedral was needed in Saint Paul. He commissioned Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, a French Beaux Arts Architect to design the building. He was also the man who created the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis Missouri. The construction for the cathedral began in 1906. It took a little under 10 years for the building to be completed.
Masqueray designed the building to have views of the altar and pulpit from anywhere in the cathedral. Two years after the completion of the building Masqueray died. Unfortunately, at the time of his death the interior designs were not completed. He had also only drawn a few of his ideas for the interior. Other architects were called in over the next few decades to add their input and get the interior completed.
When one visits the Cathedral it is to see the amazing architecture based on the French Renaissance period, and most particularly the dome. The dome is 76 feet in diameter and 186 feet high. Gold leaf and warm colors were used in the 50's to make the church inviting. The exterior was created from Rockville Granite that arrived from the Clark Quarry just outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota.
The interior walls are Travertine which came from Mankato, Minnesota. The columns are from all types of marble adding a remarkable appearance to the interior. The cathedral like many churches has stained glass windows. The most important windows are featuring Angelic Choirs. A rose window in the transept was created by Charles Connick.
The church has seen a few renovations like the 1940's installation of electric lighting. To add to the interior are four evangelists in the four corners of the main structure. Saint Paul is also honored in a bronze baldachin, the bronze Te Deum and Magnificat grilles. The Cathedral honors six other patron saints of Europe in the six chapels that make up the rest of the structure.
One important addition in 1987 was the five bronze bells which were cast in France. The bells do toll. Anyone visiting Saint Paul will find the Cathedral is open seven days a week from 7am to 7pm unless a special event is occurring. During special events like weddings the church is closed to tours.