Washington Cathedral Wins Preservation Vote

Netting along the nave protects worshippers and visitors from possible falling debris because of the August 2011 earthquake.
Robert Devaney
Netting along the nave protects worshippers and visitors from possible falling debris because of the August 2011 earthquake.

The Washington National Cathedral was the top vote-getter in the Partners in Preservation contest, sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It won a $100,000 grant. Coming in a close second, George Washington's Mount Vernon estate will also receive $100,000. Partners in Preservation will issue grants to other historic places in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

“We are overjoyed by this vote of support for our restoration efforts,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral. “This money will be put to good use restoring this incredible structure that has been entrusted to us by the American people. The generosity that American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have shown is equaled only by the remarkable work they have done calling attention to the critical preservation projects that are in need of support across the region. Our success is made greater by the knowledge that many other competitors will also be able to move forward with their projects.”

The cathedral will use the money to repair the vault of the nave, which is now shrouded with netting to catch any fragments loosened by the August 2011 earthquake. Mount Vernon plans to use the grant to restore George Washington's large dining room.

“The National Cathedral is one of the most prominent landmarks in a city full of iconic buildings, and it is a huge contributor to our crucial tourism industry,” said Mayor Vincent Gray. “Moreover, the building is not only historic and beautiful but a gathering place for people of all races, backgrounds and faiths and a setting for scores of concerts, speeches and dozens of other cultural events throughout the year. I’m thankful to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, American Express and the voting public for the funding to help restore this gorgeous space to its pre-earthquake grandeur.”

Other grant winners in the District -- with prizes ranging from $90,000 to $50,000 -- included Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Congressional Cemetery, All Souls Church Unitarian, the Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site, the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue and Meridian Hill Park and the Gala Hispanic Theatre at the Tivoli.

While Georgetown's Heyden Observatory at Georgetown University and Abner Cloud House at the C&O Canal got consolation prizes of $5,000, its Dumbarton Oaks Park on R Street will receive $50,000, which the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy plans to use to repair the garden’s original built structures including viewing platform, stone houses and retaining wall.

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Sat, 1 Nov 2014 07:50:57 -0400

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