WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

National Cathedral Repairs Begin On Anniversary Of Earthquake

Play associated audio
A crew works to secure a crocket stone, which was blessed Thursday afternoon at the National Cathedral, before being lifted into place.
Patrick Madden
A crew works to secure a crocket stone, which was blessed Thursday afternoon at the National Cathedral, before being lifted into place.

One year after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake caused significant damage to the Washington National Cathedral, the first repairs are set to begin. A special ceremony Thursday afternoon marked the milestone.

The bells of the National Cathedral rang at exactly 1:53 p.m. to mark the one-year anniversary of last year's earthquake.

"It took just under a century to get the pinnacles on top of this cathedral; it took just under a minute to bring some of them down," said Frank Wade, interim dean at the cathedral. He offered his blessing to a crocket stone, the first hand-crafted stone laid as part of repairs to one of the grand pinnacles in the cathedral's center tower.

"The cathedral is built entirely by hand — everything here is handmade," said Ward. "You don't go to Gargoyles-R-Us and find something to slap on here. Everything is made by hand."

Up until this point, stone masons at National Cathedral were focused on stabilizing the structure. The medieval-themed cathedral suffered extensive damage to its iconic flying buttresses and pinnacles. A gargoyle even lost its head in the aftermath of the quake. Now, the delicate process of repairing the hand-made adornments gets underway.

So far the cathedral has raised $8 million of the $20 million needed to fully restore the building, after the Lilly Endowment today donated $5 million to help with the restoration effort. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray requested $15 million in federal disaster funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the request was ultimately withdrawn to comply with FEMA's policy of not giving aid to religious institutions.

NPR

Writing The Wicked Ways Of The 'Worst. Person. Ever.'

Raymond Gunt is profane, rude, heartless and truly the Worst. Person. Ever. Author Douglas Coupland says he's not exactly sure how the character, with no redeeming qualities, came into his mind.
NPR

Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone?

The giant retailer says it's adding a new line of organic food that's at least 25 percent cheaper. But a large-scale production and supply of organic food likely can't be achieved overnight.
NPR

Obama Adds Malaysia To His Asia Itinerary

Obama travels to Malaysia next week, where the government is under fire for the handling of a missing airliner. NPR's Wade Goodwyn talks to Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations.
NPR

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.