Basilica of Saint Mary

Architecture & Buildings

North America, United States, Hennepin County

The Basilica of Saint Mary was the first basilica established in the United States of America, honored by Pope Pius XI in 1926. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Basilica of Saint Mary is the Co-Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Recognized as one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the country, the Basilica of Saint Mary was constructed between 1907 and 1915 to the design of celebrated Franco-American architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray. It dominates its own city block on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. In 1991 the old copper roof was replaced with a newer one to stop the water damage and leaks that were occurring. Restoration work on the exterior and damaged plaster within the church is ongoing. Since 1995, the site has been host to the Basilica Block Party weekend music festival. Proceeds have gone toward repairing the aging structure and assisting the needs of poor families in the area. The Basilica also hosts the Minnesota Sinfonia, a professional non-profit orchestra, for their winter classical concert series. Concerts are always free to the public and are funded by grant makers, corporations, and individual contributions. Furthermore, DeLaSalle High School uses the church for its commencement ceremonies every spring.