St. Paul’s Cathedral, or a Wizard’s Palace?

 

St. Paul’s Cathedral in St. Paul, Minnesota, sits high on a hill, and looms over the city landscape.  In the distance, one can see the the State Capital, which is made of a more luminescent white stone.

The Cathedral is on Summit Avenue, the elegant street of St. Paul, where F. Scott Fitzgerald frequented many a home for social occasions.  At one address, he apparently wrote his first novel, “This Side of Paradise”.  Summit is lined with an array of architectural dreams come true for the wealthy, who moved to St. Paul in the 19th century.  Some homes are more elegant in their beauty, than others.  Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Mansion of James J. Hill, one of the most powerful men in the country, whose wealth was acquired through the railroad business.  He and J.P. Morgan created an empire, and subjugated the worker to such meager wages, that Teddy Roosevelt took the matter into his hands, and shut them down, or so the story goes.  Photographs of the Hill Mansion will follow.

Let it be said, however, that Mrs. Hill, an industrious, highly organized housewife, and fervent Catholic, felt right at home with the Cathedral in plain view, sitting outside her front door.  True to the Catholic tradition, she and James grew a large family, of ten children, and today, there are still many heirs to the family wealth.

On a personal note, this is the first time I stepped foot into the Cathedral, although, as a child, I remember marveling at it’s grandeur every time our family went into the Twin Cities, to visit Uncle Johnny and Aunt Betty.  Until now, it was always a fantasy vision, which took me to fictional places in my mind.  It reminded me of a palace, where a wizard would live, and if you ever got the chance to visit, he would give you anything you wanted, and make your dreams come true.