Pop quiz: Which U.S. president signed the congressional charter authorizing the construction of the Cathedral in 1893?

If you answered Benjamin Harrison, you’re not only correct — you’re also a fellow presidential nerd. Welcome to our (rather tiny but super fun) club!

Our friends at the White House Historical Association just released their newest episode of their White House 1600 Sessions podcast, featuring WHHA President Stewart McLaurin in conversation with Dean Randy Hollerith and Provost Jan Cope.

They did a deep dive into the connections between 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Mount St. Alban, including the four presidential state funerals hosted here; the hand-stitched kneelers that honor every U.S. president; the burial sites of President and First Lady Woodrow and Edith Wilson; the role of the Cathedral in America’s public life; and Jan’s history of working at the White House during the first Bush presidency.

Fun fact: There’s actually a stone from the White House that was donated to the Cathedral during President Harry Truman’s renovation of the Executive Mansion. Ask about it during your next visit.

The hour-long conversation is an expansive view of American history and Cathedral history, and also looks at the role of a “national” Cathedral, the Cathedral’s online reach during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the everyday worshipping life of the Cathedral’s congregation.

Take a listen and let us know what you’ve learned!



Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

  • Public Life