Basilica of Staint Mary

You can read about the history and designation of the Basilica of Saint Mary historic landmark.







Address: 88 North 17 th Street

Neighborhood: Loring Park

Construction Date: 1907-13


Architect: Emmanuel Louis Masqueray

Architectural Style: Classical Revival/Baroque Revival

Historic Use: Religious - Church

Current Use: Religious - Church

Date of Local Designation: 1986

Date of National Register Designation: 1975

Area(s) of Significance: Architecture, Cultural History

Period of Significance: 1907-

Historic Profile: Plans to construct a new church to replace the Church of the Immaculate Conception were announced Christmas Day 1903. The old church, constructed in 1871 at Third Street and Third Avenue North, had been engulfed within the expanding warehouse and industrial district. In 1905 a one-block parcel on Hennepin Avenue was donated and became the future site of the new church. Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, architect of the new Saint Paul Cathedral, was commissioned for the project. Exterior construction lasted for nearly six years, while interior construction was not fully complete until 1925.

The main entrance to the Basilica is a grand colonnaded portico with a rose stained glass window 15 feet in diameter centered directly above the entrance. The main body of the building is composed of a clerestoried nave with an aisle on either side. The spacious nave, seating nearly 3,000, is lit by five large arched stained glass windows (a total of sixty stained glass windows are found throughout the building). The sanctuary, located at the north end of the nave, features a marble altar and a domed roof that rises 138 feet above the floor. The colors used throughout are those of the Virgin Mary: white for purity, blue for truth, red for love, and gold for glory. The installation of eight double bronze doors containing the symbols of the apostles and the evangelists was made in 1954. This installation completed the structural requirements that make a church a basilica. The Basilica of St. Mary is the only basilica in the Upper Midwest.

Photo Credits:

1916, Charles Hibbard, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

1936, Minneapolis Star Journal, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form," January 1974.

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Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415