Architect: Joseph Jacobberger/renovation: Thomas Hacker Architects, 1926
It doesn't matter if
you've been through the sacraments or not; if you want to see a beautiful spiritual and architectural space, visit this church. This simple yet impressive Romanesque/Byzantine cathedral was commissioned by Archbishop Alexander Christie to be a symbol and flagship of one of the nation's oldest archdioceses. The architect chosen for this job was Joseph Jacobberger, the man who oversaw the layout of the University of Portland and executed many church designs in the early 20th century.
* Historians believe that Archbishop Christie was probably inspired to build this cathedral because of the Compulsory School Bill of 1922, a ballot initiative to make all Oregon children attend public school. It was backed by the Ku Klux Klan and the Scottish Rite Masons, groups that wanted to divert youth away from Catholic private schools. This structure was intended to impress the heck out of potential voters.
The church features beautiful interior murals by Flemish artist Emil Jacques. A 1993 remodel respectively restored and revealed these, the latter through the removal of balconies. The motif of the rose (important to both Portland and St. Mary) was echoed throughout the interior of the church in the form of lighting fixtures, glasswork, and other design elements. Be sure to take in the church's new baptistery near the nave, with its beautiful octagonal tile mosaic.