Filed Under Religion

Cathedral Church of Saint Mark

St. Mark’s Cathedral began its life as the headquarters of the Salt Lake Missionary Diocese, later becoming the base for the Diocese of Utah. Serving parishioners for over 150 years, this Gothic Revival Cathedral was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

The story of St. Mark’s Cathedral begins with Bishop Daniel S. Tuttle, who took his post presiding over the missionary district of Montana in 1867. This district included jurisdiction over Idaho and Utah. After the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, Bishop Tuttle decided to make Salt Lake City the headquarters of the district. From 1867-1871, Utah’s earliest Episcopalian parishioners met in Independence Hall, an adobe building on Third South and East Temple (now Main Street). The land for St. Mark’s Cathedral was purchased on April 20, 1870. The cornerstone was laid on July 30, 1870. Opening on September 3, 1871, St. Mark’s Cathedral was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Richard Upjohn – one of his only two identified works west of the Mississippi River. 

The Cathedral was officially consecrated on May 14, 1874. In April 1902, money was raised for the addition of the west transept, the Chancel, and a room to house the organ pipes. When the chancel was added in 1903, this room became the Chapel of the Resurrection. Extensive renovations took place after the Cathedral was damaged by a fire in 1935. Fire damage can still be observed today from the exterior and along the ceiling of the Chapel of the Resurrection. A number of the Cathedral’s windows were destroyed in the fire, but the May Lillian Bishop Thompson Window (a scene depicting the women at Christ’s tomb speaking with an angel), was reassembled. When the fire melted the lead holding the window together, a parishioner was able to collect the glass pieces and take them to Tiffany Studios in New York, where the window was repaired. However, some pieces were lost, and thus the previously brunette angel became a blonde. 

St. Mark’s Cathedral has hosted a number of noteworthy visitors over the years. Episcopalian Archbishop Demond Tutu came to Salt Lake City for the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics, calling on the Cathedral on February 10, 2002. St. Mark’s hosted the North American Dean’s Conference from April 23-25, 2009. Over the week of June 25-July 3, 2015, the Diocese of Utah and St. Mark’s Cathedral welcomed delegates to the 78th Convention of the Episcopal Church. On June 27, 2015, St. Mark’s made headlines when Michael Bruce Curry became the first African American to be elected presiding bishop of the Episcopalian Church. 

To conclude, St. Mark’s Cathedral has been part of the Salt Lake City skyline since 1871. Its bell was the first church bell to ring in Salt Lake City and continues to call Episocpalians and visitors for worship today. 

Images

Photograph of St. Mark's Cathedral
Photograph of St. Mark's Cathedral Image Courtesy of St. Mark’s, taken early 1900s.
1906 St. Mark's Interior
1906 St. Mark's Interior Photo taken around 1906, note the original brunette angel on the left side of the photo. Photo used with permission from St. Mark's Archive.
1872 Photograph
1872 Photograph 1872 photo of Salt Lake, Courtesy St. Mark’s.
1874 Consecration Certificate
1874 Consecration Certificate The Cathedral’s 1874 Consecration certificate signed by Daniel S. Tuttle as the Bishop of Montana. Courtesy of St. Mark’s.
Windows
Windows Windows, credit to Kurt Cook at St. Mark’s. Used with permission.
St. Mark’s photograph<br />
St. Mark’s photograph
St. Mark’s unknown date. Used with permission.
Blonde Angel Window
Blonde Angel Window The now blonde angel window. Photo credit to Kurt Cook at St. Mark’s. Used with permission.
Exterior Fire Damage
Exterior Fire Damage Exterior fire damage, credit to Kurt Cook at St. Mark’s. Used with permission.
Outside View of St. Mark's
Outside View of St. Mark's Photo taken by Isabella Holt.
Organ
Organ Photo taken by Isabella Holt.
Sandstone and Cement
Sandstone and Cement Original sandstone foundations and more recent cement additions. Photo taken by Isabella Holt.
Fire Damaged Beam
Fire Damaged Beam Fire damaged beam in attic of church. Photograph taken by Isabella Holt.

Location

Metadata

Isabella Holt, Brigham Young University, “Cathedral Church of Saint Mark,” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 24, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/761.