Maintaining an Historic Icon
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is an iconic symbol of Savannah, Georgia, gracing the skyline with its towering steeples – a view valued by our parishioners, residents, and visitors alike. The Cathedral represents historically noteworthy architecture as well as over a century of faith and civic traditions in Savannah. Join us in preserving this treasured landmark for generations to come. People like you will make the preservation and restoration of the Cathedral possible.
Preservation and Restoration Efforts
- The Cathedral was re-built after the devastating fire of 1898.
- The stained glass windows, executed by the Innsbruck Glassmakers in the Austrian Tyrol, were installed in the Cathedral around 1904. Christopher Murphy, a noted Savannah artist, planned and directed a firm of artists in the painting of the murals. The refurbished Cathedral was re-opened in May 1912.
- Another major renovation occurred between 1959 and 1963. Among the changes were the wide plaza at the entrance, modern heating, cooling, lighting systems, a new pulpit, and altar rail. The color scheme was chosen to resemble that of the church before the 1898 fire.
- In 1984-1985, there was a shift in the steeples and spires indicating a settling of the Cathedral’s foundation. The church was closed while the decaying timber foundations were removed and replaced by reinforced concrete.
- In 1998, the Cathedral underwent $12 million in renovations, the largest improvements since fire nearly destroyed the entire structure in 1898. Essential repairs were made to the structure, slate and terra cotta roof, steeples, stucco, and murals.
- In 2003, a lone arsonist with a gun set fire to pulpit causing major smoke damage to the interior of the Cathedral. The interior of the Cathedral required extensive cleaning of the murals, walls, surfaces as well as the installation of a new pulpit.
- In 2013, the Cathedral steeples underwent a necessary renovation and stabilization process due to cracks in the old Savannah grey bricks and original mortar. Additionally, the whitewashed stucco dating from 1900 was refurbished and replaced.
- From 2012-2019, the Cathedral installed a new Fire Alarm system, upgraded the organ console, installed a new sound system, upgraded the Rectory Kitchen, installed a Live Stream Video system, and upgraded the Security Video system.