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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, June 12, 1910, Image 19

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1910-06-12/ed-1/seq-19/

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, rr on fcrs Contributed by Old World Countries — A Memorial
st/^* J . f j lC p^t f 0 Stand Unchanged in a City of
Kaleidoscope Building.
ts *** carosl t0 TVan ' lor ofC
•y* 80 walk to a place which
t+f*!£L\Hm or a change of mood, or
Lji**?*^ ha !f thinking, half dreaming
&& furS' urS ° (!,j( !,j v 'jth the long ending of a
*; 4 St '= WCi y an fi-j something to
'„-.- - :: ' TT ' - ' ' "in "the Partially finished
J#» ?**£ U* Cathedral of St. John
P^ "Si* 'cn^'h** 1-* f<^ aIHIVt * the
**&' Sgsid« Height- The grounds
... T" - l
««*■ ZZ. 0 < Wooden steps -land ajar.
:,,Vand roam at will through both
sfiZTi&**>. anJ linJ in that inclosod
, --^;.; place one of the most extraor
?;f! fiS^ : '-;; a t' our city of surprises has yet
'& *stet in the beart of what is called
i^ >0T V- of all centres, the EMSt un
fJKSft!* past, we are toiling over
&<*<*. ,>-Z as has not been begun by any
«» • *J2b« to*** l da > ? - The thre ° larsest
world are St. Peter's, at Rome;
°* 11 * ar ' d the Duomo « of
9 °^*a to these in size and ahead of all
P*- N f ' f a -ps that one paces Europe to
*** the &3i*&r& of ? J - *<** the Divino
0&r-~ fVfn u-.is much about the building
' a background of speculation.
** " tt,^ to see- and what does the build
** I, act only as a whole but in its infinite
*lxnat d«s all its symbolism reveal?
f&\ . ermbolissi which was intended and
$~~JjIStOS k:r:i that me may read be
'•^flefiao.'of things that wore done be-
practical or necessary or con
'& rat^t-^ra: should be east and west.
jack to' the Heights, is one of the first
**• ; *s one approaches the Enclosure.
"_"< have been delib* rately done, co ■ hat
* o-t<* Of Csourse. ir. antiquity it was
r ~ ♦>„.« •,-, hon ir ihe rising sun by piac-
T M2S ait^r at '-»>' east end. and few of
■ ,j iur ;hi-s ignored the rule. But we
disi«garded ii. for we are not often
in America t - rules that we have
In point of fact, the first
• " 3**-'-* v
"-« iai£ tfcs building north and south. But
Siee'tamed around later on because of the
"■ipjadcg argument of expediency- Traffic
•~-.r.r op Broadway, and the fror.t en-
I* as near to the nearest subway
;.".„, "as possible. It flying machines became
r^lja aeass of coaveyaace. as aeronautic
Ij^aaaow promise us, will it not be inter
|_fj»j years frorj now to think that a
iZirJ.'s&oz.d baye^l-n< d its back on a com-
Z.---" and permanently open frontage like
mjji park in order to be convenient to a
--, the cne observer:* of symbols there is
f Lg&ZV> ponder over ir. the fact that build
m'sJM have cbosen massive tone for con
( ..-. r beexsse they did not consider the ma-
It 5 rraae of Vermont marble and is 45 feet h.gh, to the sumrr.it of the cross, by 35 feet wide.
Urals used in the Metropolitan and Singer
towers permanent enough for their cathedral
should grant such Importance to the ever
changing transit arrangement of a city.
Even as things are now, tne building fronts
toward an avenue containing rows of unadorned
flathouses of the packing: case type, the street
floor of which is given over little shops which
manage to avoid adding any ■ease of pictu
nesqueness to the whole. And as far as one
may safely forecast, such buildings will con
tinue to be built there The facade of the cathe
dral, although it •'straddles" 112 th street, will
nevor be able to be •en in the comprehensive
way it would have been by facing- the Heights.
And another thing, there are more people look
ing at the back •■: the cathedral each day from
elevated train windows, trolleys and apartment
houses below the Heights than will cross the
"convenient" front portals in a year.
Just at present you may enter the grounds
through any one of a Dumber of gates. Some
day there ■rill be an imposing gateway and
lodge built across the corner of 110 th street and
Amsterdam avenue, from which a wide, tree
lined path will lead diagonally across the
grounds to a side door of the cathedral. Such
buildings as a library, a choir school and a resi
dence for the bishop will fringe the little park.
while at the present time a deaconnes-scs' school
and home is being put up on the 110 th street
side of the grounds.
Passing between the numerous ateliers, where
statues and parts of the stone work are carved,
and thence across the easy slope of grass, some
how faintly reminiscent of the lawns of Surrey.
one comes upon the sleep wooden steps leading
up to the entrance in the south side of the
cathedral. To cross the threshold and enter
beneath the towering domes and arches are like
going from one outdoors into another. Every
thing about the interior has been designed to
give wide open freedom of suggestion. The
hug-e square space which will ultimately be only
the crossing: of the nave and transepts, but
which now form? the body of the church, will
hold three thousand people.
Stand at the end of this space looking forward
toward the high a'tar and its screen of sacred
figures, and one of the most unusual features
of the building at once takes shape. It is the
tremendous upward sweep of lines and mount
ing arches, climaxing in the eight enormous
granite columns which stand in a semicircle
behind the high, white altar like Olympian sen
tinels. These giant columns were used to save j
the vista from shrinking about the altar, as it
does in all other Gothic cathedrals which are
built on the plan of St. John's. It is a novelty
in architectural designing, deliberately planned
to give the altar place the chief prominence and
to preserve the sr-nse of largeness which, be
cause it seems to be characteristic of this coun-
All made of finest oak. The chair is 25 feet high.
try, one might call the American note in the
— — . «
Everything- leads the eye upward, so much s<X
that to the born climber there is no resisting it.
He looks far galleries or hidden stairs, or even
scaffolding- upon which he may pull himself
aloft in rhythm with the upward win? of mar
ble and stone. And there are ways of getting
up, but climbing should be saved till the last,
for it is in its lofty places that a huge building
hides some of its choicest secrets. The messages
of the spaces below are written out so that the
passing pilgrim may read.
In the Old World cathedrals interest centres
in the fa. that the building is a local product-
It was built by the personal work of some little
community, without money, without machinery
and with only the materials that could be quar
ried or manufactured in the vicinity.
In our modern-mediaeval structure hov7 differ
ent the circumstances! Four million liars
have already been spent, and It may need tea
millions more before completion. Contract
labor supplies the hands, and each stone is laid
to the tune of at least four languages. But it is
in the distance from which the materials them
selves have been brought that the cathedral
loses all possibility of purely local flavor.
Beneath the granite columns and around tha
bases of the walls glows the rose-colored stone
of Georgia; and under that, in subdued light, lies
Pennsylvania's cool green onyx. Vermont .sent
us the marl for the white a!t~-r, and the dull
red steps in the Belmont chapel are red jasper
from the mountains of the far Northwest. Tha
pale limestone surrounding the altar place wa3
brought from Minnesota, while Peekskill hilla
have been diminished to supply the granite for
the outside walls. The angry looking, yellow
spotted marble that throws into high relief tha
altar table in the Oriental chapel ras brought
in freight ships from Egypt, and the delicately
wrought table itself was quarried in the marble
Ids of Carrara. The glass of tha high ea^t
l"»llltlllH ll on fourth pu;jf.
1 Bonyadi J anos 1
fi^ Avoid Substitutes M

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