Quake-damaged National Cathedral to reopen November 12

The National Cathedral in Washington has been closed since a 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook the region in August.

Story highlights

  • The cathedral has been closed since an August 23 earthquake
  • Events commemorating 9/11 were moved elsewhere
  • Officials say full restoration will take years
Washington's National Cathedral, damaged in an August earthquake that struck the U.S. capital, will reopen November 12, authorities said Tuesday.
However, early estimates show the total cost of restoration to be in "the tens of millions of dollars," officials said in a statement Tuesday. "The Cathedral hopes to continue an aggressive fundraising effort to raise at least $25 million to offset the costs of the early restoration work and to help support its operations through the end of 2012."
The cathedral, a Washington landmark, has been closed since August 23, when a 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook the region. Hurricane Irene also blew an enormous oak tree down in front of the cathedral, causing minor damage. And last month, a 500-ton crane, used in efforts to stabilize the structure, collapsed at the cathedral, crushing several cars in a parking lot and injuring one person.
Officials had hoped to reopen the cathedral in time for events commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2011, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. But after the crane collapse, 9/11 events were moved to the Washington Hebrew Congregation and the Kennedy Center.
On the day the cathedral reopens, the Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde will be consecrated as the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington at the cathedral, the statement said. "The reopening will include a week of events providing the cathedral with the opportunity to welcome back and thank the community for its support."
Short-term priorities include stabilizing the building and reopening the cathedral, officials said. The overall restoration is expected to take years.
"This has been a difficult time for the cathedral, made easier by the support of so many in the Washington community as well as by supporters across the nation," the Right Rev. John Bryson Chane, interim dean of the cathedral and eighth bishop of Washington, said in the statement. "While we are proud of our ability to continue our historic mission under trying circumstances, we look forward to returning to our home -- and welcoming those seeking a spiritual refuge to join us."
The delay in reopening stemmed from the need to stabilize portions of the building, including the central and west front towers, officials said.
"The cathedral has been entrusted to us as an important resource and national treasure to serve as the spiritual home for the nation," said the Rev. James P. Wind, chairman of the cathedral's governing board, the Cathedral Chapter. "We take that trust very seriously and will do everything necessary to restore the building to the condition our national community of supporters has come to expect. We hope to engage people from across the country -- drawn in from every sector of society -- not just in our effort to restore the physical structure but also in our role to be a sacred place that welcomes the country to commemorate, pray and mourn."