Earthquake repairs still needed at National Cathedral

Pinnacles on the scaffolding of the Cathedral\'s towers as they were being repaired last month. (WTOP/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON — Two landmarks — the Washington Monument and the Washington National Cathedral — had a common bond following the 2011 earthquake. Both sustained significant damage requiring closures and repairs.

The timeline of those repairs, however, has diverged.

With much fanfare, the Washington Monument reopened to the public on Monday. Structural damage has been repaired; scaffolding has been packed up.

But at the National Cathedral, repairs related to the earthquake will likely take years more to complete.

“We still have work to do, and we hope to eventually get to the milestone that the Washington Monument has gotten to,” says James Shepherd, the director of preservation and facilities.

He says he is encouraged that $10 million has already come in, which allowed the cathedral to move forward in its first phase.

“We will clean up the interior ceiling and remove the earthquake netting that we had there, as well as repair the six flying buttresses on the east end, which is the oldest part of the cathedral,” he says.

That work will likely take 10 to 12 months.

But the second phase, which will include repairs to the central tower, will require more donations.

“Phase two really deals mostly with the outside of the building, and that will require us raising an additional $16 million or more to address that,” Shepherd says.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

Advertiser Content