The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

In the 1920s, Episcopal Bishop Edward Makin Cross endeavored to create a successor to the All Saints Cathedral, which stood Downtown. He contracted the services of congregation member Harold C. Whitehouse. Whitehouse, a veteran architect responsible for many of Spokane's buildings, toured Europe doing a study of cathedral design. For St. John's, he settled on an English Gothic style with some French influences.

Bishop Cross selected a vacant lot upon which famous Spokanite Francis Cook's house used to stand. The first section of the Church to be built, the Nave leading to the high altar, was completed in late 1929. Ten days after the first mass was held at St. John's, the stock market crashed, sending the country into a long depression. This put an end to the construction for nearly two decades, when the tower, sanctuary and transepts were finally added.

The cathedral's stained-glass windows each tell a different story, from the Book of Genesis to Revelations. To the right of the high altar, the baptism of famous Native American resident Spokane Garry is depicted. The ceiling of the main crossing consists of a pattern of Stars of David, embedded in a material of compressed corn husks. The cathedral's pipe organ stretches from one end of the 257 foot room to the other.

The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist has become a Spokane landmark. Its Gothic tower looks down on the city from the south hill, its style contrasting greatly with the surrounding buildings. After almost a century of construction, the building is still incomplete. Plans for new windows and additions make it certain that this Spokane landmark will continue to grow and evolve.

Images

Cathedral Exterior

Cathedral Exterior

Courtesy of Flickr Commons. View File Details Page

Cathedral Nave

Cathedral Nave

Courtesy of Flickr Commons. View File Details Page

Carvings for the Cathedral

Carvings for the Cathedral

All of the ornate decorative carvings were created by skilled craftsmen. | Source: Eastern Washington University View File Details Page

Main Door

Main Door

Note the ornate hand carved details. Courtesy of Flickr Commons. View File Details Page

Construction of St. John's Cathedral

Construction of St. John's Cathedral

A photograph of the cathedral in the early stages of construction | Source: Eastern Washington University View File Details Page

Baptism of Spokane Garry

Baptism of Spokane Garry

Story of Spokane Garry in stained glass . Photo by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Pipe Organ and Floral Pattern

Pipe Organ and Floral Pattern

Courtesy of Flickr Commons. View File Details Page

Tower at Night

Tower at Night

Courtesy of Flickr Commons. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Lee Nilsson, “The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist,” Spokane Historical, accessed April 29, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/269.
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