National Cathedral competing for repair money

Black netting mars the view of the ceiling of Washington National Cathedral, which was damaged in the 2011 earthquake. (Photo courtesy of Washington National Cathedral)

WASHINGTON – The Washington National Cathedral in Northwest is in the running for a substantial amount of money as it continues healing from an earthquake that rocked the region.

The 5.8 magnitude quake rattled D.C. in August 2011, damaging landmarks and causing an estimated $20 million in damages to the church.

“The cathedral sits on the highest point in the nation’s capital, so all of the seismic energy traveled upwards,” explains Richard Weinberg, director of communications for the cathedral.

“Three of the four of the grand pinnacles fell off and the fourth twisted on its axis, so all four had to be removed.”

Repairs are expected to take about 10 years. Scaffolding surrounds the exterior. Inside, black netting is draped across the ceiling to catch any material that was shaken loose.

“It is black-colored and it kind of distorts the wonderful view of the vast ceiling of the cathedral,” says Weinberg.

Thanks to a program called Partners in Preservation, funded by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the cathedral could get some help financing the repairs, including ceiling inspection and construction work.

“We stand a chance to win the top prize of $100,000,” Weinberg explains.

Weinberg urges everyone to vote for the cathedral on its website. Participants can vote once every 24 hours through May 10.

Also damaged during the quake was the 550-foot Washington Monument. Crews have been building scaffolding around the structure for weeks.


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