Eventual Edifice

The first Catholic cathedral in the South was begun in #Charleston in 1850, with a brownstone, Gothic Revival design by Irish-born architect Patrick Keely of Brooklyn, New York. The church was finished an consecrated in 1854 as the Cathedral of St. John an St. Finbar, but was destroyed seven years later in a great fire that swept the city in 1861. Keely was called on again to design a replacement structure on the same site, but it was nearly 30 years later. Charleston’s fortunes were decimated by the Civil War, the the Catholic diocese had barely enough money to build at all, and the replacement church, named the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was constructed piece-meal over 17 years and after Keely’s death in 1896. Consecrated in 1907, the cathedral opened unfinished, lacking a steeple that  cost too much, and for more than a century, it was a flat-topped structure until the current steeple was finally completed in 2010. We go past the church on my tour on most days, and I point out that my parents were married in the structure. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

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