Monday, January 03, 2011

Washington National Cathedral

The other day while I was going through all of my pictures from the year, I realized that I hadn't ever talked about my visit to the Washington National Cathedral or shared the plethora of pictures I took there. I've worked on this post three separate occasions so I'd say it's about time I finished it!

When Dad and I finished walking our 60 miles we stayed at a hotel for the night in DC, and the next morning we decided to do a little sight-seeing before making the drive back to Ohio. Dad had just recently taken a vacation to the nation's capital, so we decided to take in one of the attractions that he and his wife Mim had missed while they were there--the Washington National Cathedral.

Seriously, if I had to sum this place up in three words, they would be Oh.My.Goodness. This place was absolutely phenomenal--I can't even begin to describe it. The architecture of the building was absolutely amazing and the history of the building was absolutely astounding. The planning of this place actually began in the late 1800s, and after several architectural drawings and re-drawings, the first stone was laid in 1907. The first chapel in the building was finished in 1912, but construction continued until the largest towers were finished in 1990. It is such a massive, complex, intricate building, the final dedication wasn't until just 20 years ago. In case you're poor at math, that means it took 83 years to complete it!!

There is so much history behind this place and so many fascinating facts about it. The funerals of many former presidents and were held there, along with memorial services and national days of prayer. President Woodrow Wilson is actually entombed within the structure, as are many other famous Americans, such as Helen Keller and her tutor Anne Sullivan. There is a particular stained glass window which actually includes a piece of the moon, which was presented to the cathedral at a service by the astronauts who collected it. The moon, people. It has a piece of the moon! The building is one of the highest points in Washington and the tallest part of the building is just over 300 feet tall. You can't imagine how massive it is!

Dad and I went on a guided tour of the main floor with a bunch of junior high kids, which turned out to be fine since they were well-behaved and the guide was super knowledgeable. We then checked out the lower level chapels on our own, browsed through the gift shop, found fellow Salinans we knew in the Kansas guestbook (who'd just been there a few days before!), and went up to the observation gallery in one of the towers. The views up there were spectacular and we also learned tons about the architecture and planning from the very informative displays. There are just so many cool things to see in this place, but I know my descriptions probably won't make it sound very interesting! My pictures won't do the place justice either, primarily because I didn't take my good camera to DC! Had I known we'd be going to such an amazing place for photography, I would have carried my DSLR all 60 miles just to have it at the National Cathedral!

Although the pictures aren't very good, I hope they give you an idea of how incredible this place was. I definitely plan on going back some day and hope everyone else takes the opportunity to do so the next time you're in DC!


Amy said...

This is my very, very favoritest place in D.C.! I told Jake and Amber I could live in the National Cathedral...and I mean it! I had been there before during high school, but when we went last year we actually got to take communion there. Awesome!

cw said...

That place is massive. Look forward to seeing it with you (and your SLR) in person someday.