Saint Patrick's Cathedral is the largest Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. and
the seat of the Archdiocese of New York. The land was originally intended as a burial ground, but was too rocky so a controversial decision was made in 1842 to build a new cathedral on the site. The decision was debated because the land was on the remote outskirts of the city and critics feared that parishioners would not travel to the new cathedral.
The cathedral took 21 years to build. The cornerstone was laid by Archbishop Hughes in 1858 and work continued until 1861 when it was suspended due to the civil war. Unfortunately, Archbishop Hughes died in 1864.
Bishop John McCloskey was named the new Archbishop of New York (and later appointed Cardinal in 1875). Under his direction, work was resumed after the war. Cardinal McCloskey formally blessed and opened the new cathedral on May 25, 1879. The spires were completed nine years later and dominated the surrounding skyline. St. Patrick's Cathedral is regarded as one of the great ornaments of New York City with over 3 million people visiting annually.
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