Pop quiz: Nearly all of the stone used to build the Cathedral comes from which state?

If you answered Indiana, you get a gold star.

A tip of the hat to Smithsonian magazine which takes a brief but deep dive into the awesomeness of Indiana limestone and why it makes such strong buildings:

Architects and sculptors quickly came to love the stone—dubbed “the Nation’s Building Stone”—for several reasons. It’s chemically pure and consistent, at over 97 percent calcium carbonate, which makes it highly uniform; it’s a freestone—you can cut, carve or mill it in any direction; and it stands the test of time, because its uniformity gives it the same strength in all directions.

Fun fact: The estimated 300 tons of Indiana limestone used to build the Cathedral all came from the same quarry, except for the reredos (or carved screen) behind the High Altar, which came from France, and the carving of the Christ figure above the high altar, which came from Texas.

Silly us: We thought their section dubbed “Rock of Ages” was about hymns. Turns out it’s dedicated to … cemetery stones.


Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

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