Thursday, July 27, 2017

THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL - A 5.8 EARTHQUAKE....

that occurred at 1.51 p.m. on August 23rd, 2011, caused more than $34 million in damage to the Cathedral.   This earthquake was the largest the East Coast had experienced in 115 years.



Pinnacles weighing hundreds and even thousands of pounds came crashing down.  Fortunately most fell inward onto the structure's parapets, instead of outward, where they could have caused serious bodily harm to those who only moments before had been admiring the cathedral from outside, or who were running out of the cathedral as it shook.  



There was a small, fenced off area where some of those fallen pieces were on display, with a description of what was being done.




It reads, "The Earthquake.  On August 23rd, 2011, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake shook the East Coast, causing over $34 million in damage to Washington National Cathedral.  While the Cathedral withstood the quake largely in tact, buttresses cracked, large limestone pinnacles twisted, and hand-carved finials, including these stones, fell.

Work completed.  Through private donations only, the Cathedral was able to raise $10 million in the two years following the earthquake to complete Phase 1 repairs and to restore the interior and provide seismic reinforments and repairs to the 
east end flying buttresses.  This work was completed in June 2015.

Not done yet.  While the Cathedral's interior earthquake damage has been repaired, nearly 87% of the exterior still needs restoration.  In March 2016, we began the first part of Phase 2 earthquake efforts, but we have $22 million left to go.  The remaining work can only be completed as gifts are given by donors, foundations and every day people who join us in renewing this house of prayer for all people."

And then it goes on to give the e-mail address where donations can be arranged.  

I have to confess that we had no idea this much damage had been done to the Cathedral, and that work was an ongoing process after all these years.

  

We had parked in an underground car park not too far away from here.  You can see the glass enclosed elevator shafts on the right of the picture below.




Inside there were other fallen pieces on display...





and on the seventh floor there is a whole exhibit.



































Washington National Cathedral is on Facebook here.





Just for added info, the Washington Monument will be closed indefinitely.  (I read somewhere until 2019.)  It was closed due to damage done in the earthquake and repairs were made.  Additionally its elevators have had numerous problems due to their age and are no longer deemed safe. People are not allowed to use the stairs any more.  Gregg remembers walking to the top when on a school trip to the Nation's Capital in 1961. 


The Washington Monument has a Facebook page which you can see here.





46 comments:

  1. Good grief! I had no idea. I think it was smart to showcase the broken pieces, so people can see how much it needs repaired. Are they still having weekly services? I remember this earthquake. Do you? Where were you? We are very close to the epicenter in Mineral, much closer than the cathedral. I was on the couch and heard a noise like a train coming right at me, then the whole room shook. Really freaked me out. There was quite a lot of damage around town, but we had none. The only earthquake I ever experienced, and hopefully the last.

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    1. I was at home sitting on the sofa, looking through a book and remember it like it was yesterday. At first I thought it must have been some kind of crash and then the whole house shook just as you described. I had been through several shakes in California, once when I was walking down the stairs and had to grab hold of the rails to stop from falling, and even remember waking up another time and it was as if our bed was rolling like on the ocean. I could not believe this was an earthquake in Virginia, had never heard of such a thing here. We didn't have any damage either but it sure gave me a fright. I was so surprised to see the effects of it at the Cathedral and only remember hearing of the Washington Monument being damaged and closed down. Yes, hopefully the last.

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  2. How incredibly lucky that no lives were lost. The damage to the building is dreadful - but buildings can be repaired...

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    1. I agree, even if most of the pieces fell inwards, there was still enough that fell on the ground far below to cause serious injury. Yes, buildings can always be repaired.

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  3. Hi Denise, this is something I cannot remember, but that is some earthquake, we have only once experienced an earthquake and that was in Southern Spain when the beds were sliding around the bedroom, not the best of experiences. When you look at the size of some of the pieces that fell, I don't think a hard hat would have been a great deal of help. OUCH, All the best, interesting post, thanks. John

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    1. Very interesting to read about your own experience with an earthquake John. I hope you never have to feel another one. No, a hard hat wouldn't have been much use in that situation. Thank you John and all the best to you too, Denise :)

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  4. Wow amazing that nobody was hurt with all the stonework crashing down. Very sad though and I hope that all the restoration is now complete and no more quakes in that area.
    I have only ever felt mild tremors when we lived in Johannesburg. The first time I felt it was when I was working at the horse hospital. I asked the Head African lad what was happening and he told me God was angry about something and was shaking the earth.
    Have a good day Diane

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    1. I agree Diane, it was amazing. They have a long way to go before they are finished unfortunately. It is going to take several years. Interesting to read about the earthquake you experienced in J'burg.

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  5. The cathedral is beautifully designed. I hope they will be able to restored all the damaged parts to its original beauty. Have a fantastic day!

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    1. Thank you Nancy, I hope so too and wish you an equally fantastic day :)

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  6. Hello the cathedral is beautiful. The exhibits are amazing. I remember that earthquake, I was at work in a downtown Baltimore office building. The building was swaying back and forth, it was scary. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

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    1. That sounds very scary Eileen. Thank you and have an enjoyable day also.

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  7. as I read this I am wondering how this happened and I did not know about it. I was retired so it was not because I was working... either I never heard about it or I have forgotten and both bother me. it is beautiful

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    1. It is interesting but you are not alone. Probably in other areas of the country it might have been mentioned once on the news, and if we missed that it is not surprising it skips us by.

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  8. I hadn't heard about damage to the National Cathedral by earthquake. I also don't understand the place of the Cathedral in US history and culture.

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    1. This Cathedral is well known in our neck of the woods. Every time we go into DC we see it on the horizon and have always said we need to go revisit. I am glad we did.

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  9. I remember when that happened because we were in D.C. for a conference in May of 2011 and had a couple visits to the cathedral. Earthquakes have been part of our lives growing up in Southern California and we've had a couple doozies here in Washington State, too. That's great that the cathedral has this display of the damaged pieces. They've done a great job with the display.

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    1. Hi Ellen, how interesting that you were actually in DC. I am finding out all kinds of info on earthquakes. Did not realize you had them up there in Washington State. The Cathedral caretakers have a monumental task ahead of them but they have done a marvelous job so far.

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  10. That was quite a quake for the area. I've felt the occasional rumble here, but the only quake of damage causing status was one several years ago. Did the odd bit of damage to some structures, felt like an airplane flying by as it passed through.

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    1. Unheard of before this. I did not know you experienced them up your way. Let's hope we won't get any again for another 150 years.

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    2. There's a minor fault line that runs through the St. Lawrence valley. I've attended a lecture once on quakes- the seismologist explained that the energy of quakes in the eastern part of North America travel much further in the ground than around the western zone where you have major fault lines- simply because the areas out west are all crumpled up deep beneath the earth; the energy gets more contained and travels far less in distance.

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    3. That is fascinating William, thanks for sharing.

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  11. Fascinating post, Denise. It's a shame it sustained so much damage. Lovely photos.

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  12. Now that is a shock as
    I had no idea there were earthquakes on the East Coast & the damage done to the Cathedral is extensive. However it is really great to see the intricate plasterwork so close at hand until it is lifted sky high again!

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    1. I had lived here for many years and not heard of an earthquake here before this one Christine. It shocked everyone. I agree with you, it was fascinating to see what we wouldn't normally be able to see as close as those on display.

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  13. Being a life-long Californian who has ridden out many earthquakes over the years, I found this very interesting, especially that information about earthquakes on the East Coast and how they differ. Wow. I must have heard about this earthquake in 2011 but oddly I don't remember, or even that the cathedral was damaged. So glad to know no one was injured by those falling stones. Amazing how costly how several seconds of earth shaking can be isn't it.

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    1. Thanks Sara, having lived in California in the early part of my marriage, I remember many of those rumbles.

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  14. Beautiful shot....all of them but I love the last one. So sorry that they building suffered so much but glad that things will be repaired.

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  15. Regarding your comment at today's post, yes, that DC museum is a Douglas Cardinal design as well. One of his most recent projects here is the Wabano Center, which I've featured a couple of times. He lives in the area, I believe somewhere along the Rideau River south of the city's main core.

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    1. I wondered if they were one and the same. Thank you for stopping by again and letting me know :)

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  16. Wow Denise, that is a lot of damage that I don't recall hearing about, it is amazing the work that has been done and also how much is left to do.

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    1. It seems an almost insurmountable task Jimmy, but they seem to be getting there one phase at a time.

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  17. Wow, that is amazing. I had no idea that there was so much damage.

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    1. Hi Yogi, I had no idea either until we turned up that day.

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  18. I am embarrassed to say this, but I do not even remember that earthquake! I know a lot has happened, but this makes me feel really crazy. LOL What job it must be to repair it!

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    1. Not to feel embarrassed Rose, it was quite a while ago. I had forgotten all about it until I had this visual reminder when we visited the Cathedral.

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  19. I remember. We hardly felt the quake in the mountains. I thought the washing machine might be going into the spin cycle, but then I realized it wasn't on. I thought I might have imagined it.
    Poor cathedral... it took them a hundred years to built it and then it got damaged!

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    1. Interesting your memory of the earthquake Linda. Yes, poor Cathedral.

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  20. I had no idea thee was so much damage to the Washington Cathedral during that earthquake! I remember hearing about a crack in the Washington Monument. My Mom had her storm door fly open and closed and felt the ground move, in Wakefield Va at the time. Some amazing photos of the Cathedral, and the damaged areas. So interesting!

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    1. Thank you Marie. I have found it very interesting reading our blogging friends ' experiences when this East Coast Earthquake happened. Your Mom's is adding to that list.

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  21. I must confess, Denise, that I have no recollection of this event. I have never experienced an earthquake but I witnessed the aftermath of a serious seismic event in Agadir in Morocco in 1963. The town was pretty much destroyed. We visited Chile a few years ago and knew we were in an earthquake prone country when the first instruction on the card on the inside of the door was what to do in the event of an earthquake! Have a great weekend and stay cool. I hear it is pretty hot in your corner of the world.

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    1. Hi David, we are having a respite from the heat right now. The air conditioning is off and the windows are wide open. Celebrating in my own quiet way :). Interesting about your time in Morocco and Chile.

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  22. That is quite the event. Such a mess.

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    1. Indeed it is, and a surprise to me to see such damage to this incredible building.

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