Reporting Mary Bubala
BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Last summer’s earthquake damaged buildings up and down the East Coast. Now, one of the most historic buildings is about to be repaired.
Mary Bubala reports the Baltimore Basilica should be used to the scaffolding by now.
Six years ago, Baltimore’s Basilica, circa 1806, underwent a massive historical restoration.
The changes were supposed to last a lifetime, but whether you call it an act of God or Mother Nature, the East Coast earthquake left its mark.
“You can see the cracks there,” says Sean Caine, spokesperson for the Baltimore Archdiocese.
One look up and you can see dozens of cracks visible throughout the Basilica.
None of it is serious structural damage, so the Archdiocese was able to wait until now to begin repairs.
“We’ve seen the cracks starting to expand and just for health and safety reasons and the stewardship of the Basilica we felt the time was right to start to address that,” Caine said.
The repairs will cost between $3 and $5 million, but the Basilica had earthquake insurance to cover the expense. Weekend Mass and weddings will take place with the scaffolding professionally draped for the 9-month repair time. Only two weddings have been canceled.
Daily Mass will shift below to the undercroft, a space many have never seen.
The popular tours of the Basilica will be limited during the renovation.
Each year more than 100,000 people visit.
“I thought it would be gothic, like some of the cathedrals I have seen before. It’s just beautiful. It’s so bright and airy,” said Paula Wiseman, a tourist from Michigan.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore hopes the repairs will be done by Ash Wednesday in February of next year.