St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle

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St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral
47.6319° N, 122.3214° W
Location Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington
Country United States
Denomination Episcopal Church in the United States of America
Founded 1889 (1889)
Dedicated 25 April 1931
Status Cathedral
Designated 1926
Groundbreaking 1928
Completed Never completed
Closed 1941–1943 (reopened as a cathedral in 1944)
Diocese Olympia
Bishop(s) Gregory Rickel
Organist(s) Michael Kleinschmidt (Canon Musician), Mel Butler (Canon Musician Emeritus), Brian Fairbanks, Roger Sherman

St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, U.S., is the seat of the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. St. Mark's was founded as a mission church of Trinity Parish Church.


Plans for the building, located on the west side of 10th Avenue E. between E. Highland Drive and E. Galer Street on Capitol Hill, were drawn up in 1926. Fundraising took place for two years until construction began in 1928. Ground was broken on September 30, 1928. The Great Depression took a toll on the parish, however. Construction was incomplete when the cathedral was dedicated on April 25, 1931, and the parish was in default on its mortgage throughout the 1930s. The cathedral was foreclosed upon in 1941 and shut for the next two years. From 1943 to 1944, the United States Army used the cathedral as an anti-aircraft training facility; the evidence of this era can still be seen in murals in the crypt.

In 1944, Bishop S. Arthur Huston reopened discussions with the parish's bankers in St. Louis, Missouri; over the next three years, more funds were raised, and in 1947 the mortgage was paid off. The mortgage document was burned before the Parish on Palm Sunday.[1]

The cathedral's dean, Robert V. Taylor, resigned abruptly in March 2008, stating that he and the vestry (church board) diverged in their visions for the future of St. Mark's and there was a loss of trust between them.[2]

After several years of transitional ministry, Taylor was succeeded by Steve Thomason in the summer of 2012.


St. Mark's Cathedral is located at the top of a very steep dropoff to Lakeview Boulevard E. below. The wooded hillside is known as the St. Mark's Greenbelt.


The Flentrop organ in the choir loft, at the rear of the nave

The choir loft of St. Mark's is home to one of the largest pipe organs in Seattle. The organ was built in 1965 by Flentrop in the Netherlands and renovated in 1992 by Tacoma's Paul Fritts. It has 55 electric-action stops, 75 ranks, four tracker-action manuals, 32 pedals, and 3,744 total pipes.[3] The current organists are Mel Butler, Brian Fairbanks, and Roger Sherman.[4]


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Coordinates: 47°37′55″N 122°19′17″W / 47.63194°N 122.32139°W / 47.63194; -122.32139