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This photograph shows the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary in the 1980s. This image shows the dingy state the building had fallen into by the late 20th century. The building was restored in 2006.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first Roman Catholic cathedral constructed in the United States. It was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, who was both the first true American architect as well as Architect of the U.S. Capitol under Thomas Jefferson.

The Basilica is built in the neoclassical style with a Latin cross basilica floor plan. The building underwent a complete restoration in 2006 which restored the building, interior and exterior to Latrobe’s original design, in additional to installing modern systems within the building. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Place in 1969.



This object from the Chester E. Smolski photographic slides and publications, housed by the Rhode Island College Special Collections, and any of its digital surrogates are the intellectual property of Rhode Island College. This digital object is protected by copyright and/or related rights. The digital material presented here is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This content can be used, shared, or adapted for educational and scholarly purposes. For permissions to use this item please contact All uses must include appropriate attribution.

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Recommended Citation

Chester E. Smolski photographic slides and publications, MSS-0041, Special Collections, James P. Adams Library, Rhode Island College.


cathedral, religious architecture, neoclassicism, architecture, American