Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul

Providence, RI

Vertical Access performed exterior conditions assessments at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul twice over the last two decades in support of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s efforts to maintain a safe facility.

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Building description

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is located on Providence’s Cathedral Square, southwest of the city’s central business district. The Roman Catholic cathedral was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Irish-American architect Patrick Keely in 1873 and consecrated in 1889.

Ss. Peter and Paul is cruciform in plan and oriented on a northwest-to-southeast axis, with a pair of ~156’ towers flanking the principal entrance at the north. The exterior Portland, CT brownstone masonry is characterized by fields of rock-faced ashlar units punctuated by carved watercourses and ornamental units. Much of the ashlar units are face-bedded, with their bedding planes oriented vertically and parallel to the building façades. The towers are of load-bearing stone and brick masonry with timber framing at the interiors. Both towers include either clock faces or matching round window openings at the topmost level of each of the eight tower faces, louvered openings at the belfry levels, and window openings of various configurations at lower levels.

The clock faces and matching round window enframements are wood with clear glass lights. The west tower contains a set of four bells which ring on the hour, while the east tower contains HVAC equipment. The flat tower roofs are accessed by steel ships ladders leading to hatches. Each tower is surmounted by a low, crenellated parapet. Carved brownstone ornament includes Greek crosses, Corinthian column capitals, and floral motifs. The interior is notable for its wood-paneled vaulted ceiling, green marble columns, and stained-glass windows. The Cathedral was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Scope of work

  • In 1998, Vertical Access performed a hands-on existing conditions survey, documenting with annotated drawings, photographs, and video.
  • We returned in 2019 to assist in the documentation of existing conditions at the brownstone towers again using annotated drawings with photographs.

Building owner

Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence

In collaboration with

  • Perry Dean Rogers & Partners Architects (1998)
  • DBVW (2019)