St. Paul’s at the Blue Hour
Some Details of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Goofy Gargoyle, Grumpy Gargoyle
Two gargoyle faces on St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.
Pulpit of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
This elaborate Gothic pulpit is equipped with a traditional sounding board to deflect the sound out into the congregation. It is also equipped with a microphone, which has become a much more tenacious tradition. An Episcopal church would sooner give up the Thirty-Nine Articles than the microphone. It is an interesting fact of history that no one ever heard anything until electrical amplification was invented.
Trinity Window in Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
The large window at the rear of the cathedral. At the apex is the Shield of Faith, the emblem of the Trinity. In the center is Christ ascending, with the legend “He is the King of Glory.” Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John watch and record, each with his traditional symbol (man, lion, ox, eagle).
Interior of Trinity Cathedral
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral was built in 1872 from a design by Gordon W. Lloyd, an English-born Canadian architect who was popular among Episcopalians. The view above is made up of three pictures to give us a broad view of the nave.
This is the third church for this congregation. The first was the “Round Church,” built at about the time the streets were laid out in their present plan in 1785. (It was actually an octagon—one of the first generation of odd-shaped buildings caused by the colliding grids along Liberty Avenue.) The second was a brick Gothic church built in 1824.
Note the divided pews, which are the original furniture from 1872. At the time this church was built, churches were generally funded by pew rents. Your family would rent a particular section, and that was where you sat every Sunday.
The number on the end of the pew identifies your section. When Father Pitt visited, the dean of the cathedral, the Very Reverend Aidan Smith, was kind enough to bring out a precious historical artifact: a pew chart of the previous church marked with the prices for each section. The closer to the front (and the more visible) the pew, the more it cost per annum. He explained that this cathedral stopped the practice of pew rents in the 1930s, after receiving a large legacy on the condition that pew rents would be stopped. (In addition to funding the church, they were a good, but arguably un-Christian, way of keeping out the undesirable poor.)
Entrance to St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1994
This composition is no longer possible, because the building in the foreground was demolished to make way for the larger Rand Building that occupies the corner of Fifth and Craig today. At least old Pa Pitt is fairly sure he was standing in the old Mellon Bank building, although after almost three decades the memory clouds over a bit, and he had to rely on maps and angles to make that determination.
A Medieval Fantasy
A little experiment in digital art. It began with a photograph of one of the Gothic gateposts outside the chancery behind St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland. That was made black and white, and then put through a multiple-layer “etching” filter, and then every detail that looked at all modern was scribbled over. This is the result. Was it worth the work? Probably not, but one can always learn something from these experiments.
St. Peter, with his key, stands in his niche on St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.
More Reflections of St. Paul’s
The Software Engineering Institute gives us an unending parade of reflections of the landmarks around it. The curved wall at the main entrance is particularly productive of interesting effects. Below, for example, what appears to be a reflection of the twin spires of St. Paul’s is actually, on closer examination, the same spire reflected twice.