The Cathedral of All Saints

Robert W. Gibson new way of thinking, improving upon traditional Gothic architecture.

The Cathedral of All Saint a historic church that is still active with the Albany community today.

In 1882 the church chapter consulted two architects. Henry Hobson Richardson one of the architects, at this time one of the leading architect in America. He worked on the newly established State Capitol building. The other architect a recently arrived Englishmen only twenty-eight at the time, Robert W. Gibson. Both architects came up with marvelous ideas of what they thought the cathedral should look like. In the end the chapter rejected the famous Richardson proposal. Gibson proposal was extremely bold; his proposed that the building to be the largest church attempted to be built up until that time with in the Episcopal Church. Gibson went with a Gothic style of architecture for the cathedral. Gothic style solved problems that Gibson saw in older buildings. With a traditional Gothic architecture there are wide sides aisles of the naves of Gothic cathedrals which left the congregation sitting behind the pillars which blocked there vision to the altar. Gibson plan was to widen the nave and then narrow the aisles to be mere processional path so that about everyone would have a view of the high altar.
Specific features of the cathedral that make it unique is that the back row of seating on each side of the choir are assigned to the various canons of the cathedral are the finest examples of European wood carving in America. The second unique aspect to the cathedral is the frontal on the high altar is decorated with thirteenth century needlework and Venetian lace. Third the stain glass windows at the west end of the church represent the saints in glory. The associate of Tiffany and Company John LaFarge designed it. Fourth the nave windows depict examples of the various categories of saints. They are martyrs, confessor, virgins, holly women, apostles and the prophets. Fifth the pillars in the cathedral were given as a memorial, telling the stories of some of the people of Albany and the State of New York. Construction began in 1884, by June 3rd of that same year a ceremony was held with the Governor Grover Cleveland in attends along with, Mayor Banks, Bishops of the Central New York and Bishops Doane. During the ceremony the cornerstone was laid and the work formally began with the blessing of the Cathedral. During the construction of the Cathedral it ran out of money but a anonymous donor who as been speculated to be J.P. Morgan the cathedral was finally completed in 1904.

Street Address:

62 S Swan St, Albany, NY 12210 [map]

Official Website:

Cite this Page:

Shannon M. , “The Cathedral of All Saints,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed September 19, 2019,


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