Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick's Cathedral Souvenir Buildings

On this day, some people think of shamrocks, a snake exodus, green beer and Lepricons. Building Collectors; however, will think of St. Patrick's Cathedral. The Gothic Revival style Catholic cathedral in New York City is a well-known structure and many miniature souvenir versions of it have been produced over the years. One is a nicely-proportioned metal replica was made and mounted on a wooden base. Another small, metal, copper-colored and oddly out-of-proportion souvenir building replica of the cathedral used to be very common in NYC gift shops, but like so many other miniatures, they are now hard to find. The only 3-D replicas at the cathedral's gift shop is made of resin. InFocus Tech also has a pewter version in its production which stands just under 4" tall and is 4-1/2" long. The real cathedral is located on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in midtown Manhattan and faces Rockefeller Center. Designed by Architect James Renwick, Jr., the cornerstone of America's tallest Cathedral was laid on August 15, 1858. At that time, the most populated areas of NYC were well south of this location. Just like the Washington Monument, work on the cathedral halted during the Civil War and resumed in 1865. The cathedral was completed in 1878 with its huge proportions dominating the midtown of that time. Towers on the west fa├žade were added in 1888 and an addition on the east, including a Lady chapel, designed by Charles T. Mathews, began in 1901. The cathedral was renovated between 1927 and 1931 when the great organ was installed and the sanctuary enlarged. Constructed of brick, not marble because brick is stronger, the structure was then faced with marble. The site of the church takes up a whole city block. The spires rise 330 feet (100m) from street level to the heavenly top. The Saint Michael and Saint Louis altar was designed by Tiffany & Co. The Saint Patrick's Cathedral and associated buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

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