There was a quiet serenity to Minneapolis’ Basilica of St. Mary as the sun faded, and I walked around the building on a weeknight post-rush hour. Constructed between 1907 and 1915 and designed by the same architect of the St. Paul Cathedral, it’s hard to imagine the contrast in activity in 1908 when 30,000 Catholics, 20 bishops, and 300 priests celebrated laying the cornerstone. The basilica is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture, a style likely most recognized in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.
Built with Bethel White Granite from Vermont, the Basilica of St. Mary overlooks Loring Park and is located on a main thoroughfare, Hennepin Avenue. The street, the bridge crossing the Mississippi and our county are named after a Catholic priest, Father Louis Hennepin, who in the 1680’s brought the world’s attention to St. Anthony Falls, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River. I’ve lived in Minneapolis a combined seven years, and this is the first time I’ve learned this history. Thanks 365 blogging project.
Originally known as the Pro-Cathedral of Minneapolis, the church cost $1 million dollars to build and held its first Mass in 1914. In 1926, the Catholic Church designated the pro-cathedral the Basilica of Saint Mary, making it the first basilica in the United States.