St. Joseph Cathedral (Columbus, Ohio)

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St. Joseph Cathedral
St. Joseph's Cathedral, Columbus.jpg
St. Joseph Cathedral (Columbus, Ohio) is located in Ohio
St. Joseph Cathedral (Columbus, Ohio)
Location in Ohio
39°57′48″N 82°59′41″W / 39.96327°N 82.99465°W / 39.96327; -82.99465Coordinates: 39°57′48″N 82°59′41″W / 39.96327°N 82.99465°W / 39.96327; -82.99465
Location 212 E. Broad St.
Columbus, Ohio
Country United States
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Founded 1866
Architect(s) Michael Harding
Robert T. Brookes
Style Gothic Revival
Completed 1878
Capacity 700[1]
Length 185 feet (56 m)
Width 92 feet (28 m)
Materials Ashlar
Diocese Diocese of Columbus
Bishop(s) Most Rev. Frederick F. Campbell
Rector Very Rev. Michael J. Lumpe

St. Joseph Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral located in Columbus, Ohio, United States which serves as the seat of the Diocese of Columbus.[2]



St. Joseph Parish, named after Saint Joseph, Jesus' legal father, was founded by members of St. Patrick’s Parish in Columbus in 1866 to alleviate overcrowding. Its pastor, the Rev. Edward M. Fitzgerald, began to plan for the church, raised money, formed a building committee and secured property on Broad Street and Fifth for $13,500.[1] The committee chose name St. Joseph for the new church, and selected Michael Harding as architect. Contractor John McCabe began construction June 6, 1866 with John Stoddard engaged as mason. Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester H. Rosecrans of Cincinnati laid the cornerstone November 11, 1866.

In 1867, Father Fitzgerald became Bishop of Little Rock and Bishop Rosecrans succeeded him as pastor of St. Patrick’s. On March 3, 1868, Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Columbus and named Bishop Rosecrans as its first bishop.[3] He selected St. Joseph’s as the cathedral for the new diocese.

Bishop Rosecrans named Robert T. Brookes to succeed Harding as architect and altered the original design of a brick structure to stone to befit its elevated status as a cathedral. Because of this, workers demolished the existing foundation walls rebuilt them deeper. Retired General William Rosecrans, older brother of Bishop Rosecrans, came to Columbus to assist with some of the design plans in the summer of 1870.[1]

Bishop Rosecrans celebrated the first Mass in the unfinished cathedral on Christmas 1872. Soon after, Cardinal John McCloskey of New York donated marble, from the same quarry used in the construction of St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, to construct a high altar and side altars.[1] In 1873, parish purchased the home of Joseph Gundersheimer, across Broad Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets, to house the clergy. It served until the diocese could construct a rectory attached to the cathedral.

Even though interior decoration of the building was incomplete, Bishop Rosecrans consecrated it on October 20, 1878. The final cost was $218,000. Tragically, the Bishop died the following day. He was interred directly beneath the main altar.[1]


Pipe organ

St. Joseph Cathedral was designed in the Gothic Revival style and built of ashlar stone quarried in Licking and Fairfield counties. The exterior dimensions of the building are 185 by 92 feet (56 m × 28 m) with walls 3 feet (0.91 m) thick. The Broad Street (south) façade of the cathedral houses three entrances and was to be framed by two towers. The southwest tower was to rise to a height of 312 feet (95 m) and contain three clock faces and a chime of ten bells. while the southeast tower was to reach a height of 200 feet (61 m).[1] Both towers remain incomplete. The Fifth Street façade houses an additional entrance.

In 1914, the diocese remodeled the cathedral replacing the main and side altars and communion rail. Work also included replacing the iron columns supporting the clearstory and new lighting.

The cathedral saw further changes in 1967 when the lower level was excavated to create a usable meeting space. In June 1978, the sanctuary was updated in attempt to incorporate changes mandated by the Second Vatican Council.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Gorski, Fr. James. "Parish History". Saint Joseph Cathedral. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  2. ^ "St. Joseph Cathedral". GCatholic. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  3. ^ "Diocese of Columbus". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 

External links[edit]