St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral

310 Montgomery Street

This structure, the Third Saint Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, was designed by English born architect, Henry Dudley.  Records indicate Dudley was working on the plans in 1883, the corner stone was laid on June 25, 1884 and the structure was completed in 1885.  The total cost of the project, including the lot, was $150,000.

The stone tower, rising over 200 feet, is topped with a stone cross donated by Andrew and Horace White (see the White Memorial Building) and dedicated to their mother Clara Dickson White.

This building was the third home for the oldest Episcopal congregation in Syracuse. When the second was demolished to make way for the Old Federal Building, some of the stones from the church were saved for this new structure.

Here is how the authors of Architecture Worth Preserving describe St. Paul's:

"The exterior, called 'Old English Gothic' when it was built, is simple and severe, the rock-faced gray limestone from the Onondaga Reservation being relieved only by small windows and plain buttresses. At the street corner, however, rises a square tower crowned by a slender stone spire whose height of 225' was an audacious display of structural skill. At the eastern end, alongside the tower, is a high polygonal apse.

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Library of Congress, Historic American Building Survey, HABS,NY,34-SYRA,12-1

"The interior is lofty and spacious, divided into a traditional nave and side aisles by pointed arcades carried on polished granite columns. Walls are faced with light-colored brick, in which are inserted some horizontal bands of ornamental tiles. The whole effect reminds one of mid-19th Century English churches designed by Scott, Butterfield and Street, who were then evolving a new interpretation of medieval forms.

"Henry Dudley, a New York architect, was working on the plans in May, 1883. A chapel was the first unit to be built; construction of the main building began in April, 1884, when a contract was let to Leamy Brothers.  In later years the building has been improved and redecorated somewhat, but it remains substantially as it was when erected."

The size of St. Paul's parish hit its peak in the 1930's. Following World War II the population of Syracuse began to shift to the suburbs and St. Paul's membership declined as well. An effort to name St. Paul's the Cathedral of the Diocese was begun in the 1960's. This effort found success in 1971 when the change was made official and membership in the church has grown considerably since that time.

The major difference between the two pictures isn't to be seen in the church building but in the buildings around it. In the 1970's, the church purchased and demolished the seven story office building and movie theater crowding it to the west. The grand Onondaga Hotel -- once the tallest building to be seen behind the church's spire -- has now been replaced with a high-rise office building.

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