Washington National Cathedral was closed the evening of July 29 following an incident of vandalism in Bethlehem Chapel, the earliest portion of the Cathedral to be constructed.

Part of the console, casework, and pipes of Bethlehem Chapel’s 1953 Aeolian-Skinner organ (last restored in 1992) were splattered with green paint. The paint was discovered while still wet. Similar vandalism also occurred, reportedly with less paint, to the carved wood reredos (altarpiece) in Children’s Chapel, a much-loved space constructed to the scale of a six year–old child.

The damage to both chapels—totalling nearly $25,000—was quickly handled by Gold Leaf Studios. A suspect was arrested. The incident, one of a string of similar attacks on national landmarks, captivated the local Washington area and made national headlines.