|Located at the corner of Cathedral and Mulberry Streets, the Baltimore Basilica, officially known as the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was the first Roman Catholic Cathedral built in the United States, and was the first major religious building constructed after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Construction began in 1806, and was completed in 1821. The Basilica was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe – America’s first professionally trained architect and Thomas Jefferson’s Architect of the U.S. Capitol – under the guidance of America’s first Bishop, John Carroll. The neo-classical Basilica is largely considered to be the Latrobe’s masterpiece. In 1972, the Basilica was declared a National Historic Landmark and is therefore listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1993, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the Basilica a National Shrine. In 1995, the Basilica was visited by Pope John Paul II; and in 1996 by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. In 2004, the Basilica was closed for two years during a major restoration to return the church to the original version of Latrobe and Carroll. In November 2006, the Basilica reopened its doors and is currently seeing thousands of visitors and worshippers every week. More information can be found the Baltimore Basilica Website. Today, the area surrounding the cathedral has been designated a historic district. It survives apart from the daily hustle associated with the port of Baltimore. The district also contains notable buildings (spanning two centuries) associated with the cathedral, including the Archbishop’s Residence (William Small 1829) at 408 North Charles Street, and the former Basilica School at 7-9 West Mulberry Street.
Area bounded by Charles, Cathedral, Hamilton, Saratoga, and St. Paul Streets. The Basilica is open for visitation from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, seven days a week (guided tours are available Monday-Saturday at 9:00 am, 11:00 am, and 1:00 pm, and on Sundays at 12:00noon) but most sites are private property. For more information visit the Old Roman Catholic Cathedral (The Basilica) website.
| Old Roman Catholic Cathedral with historic watercolor by Benjamin Latrobe, “Roman design for Baltimore Cathedral,1804”
Current photo by Shannon Bell, National Register of Historic Places Former Basilica School
Photo by Shannon Bell, National Register of Historic Places
Archbishop’s Residence in the late 1800s
Photo courtesy of Basilica of the Assumption