Campus of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Springfield

The story of how the Diocese of Springfield came into being is perhaps a story of how the locus of social, economic and political power has migrated around the State of Illinois over the last two hundred years. It was originally the Diocese of Quincy, founded in 1853, reflecting the primacy of the Mississippi River, before moving to Alton in 1857, continuing the emphasis of southern Illinois and its proximity to western trade routes and St. Louis. Likewise, Chicago rose to power as the Archdiocese of the Ecclesiastical Province of Illinois, permanently moving the center of power in the state to the north, reflecting that city’s overarching economic and political power. It was not until 1923 that Springfield took over as the center of the west-central diocese of Illinois (Belleville currently controls the southern portion of the state).

The cathedral and its nearby school opened in 1928, designed in a Twentieth Century Greek Revival style. It recalls St. Louis’s Old Cathedral and Cincinnati’s Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, which are examples of early Nineteenth Century Greek Revival basilicas.

The recent renovation has added a sympathetic and well done atrium that connects the church with the school, which I understand closed recently.

There is an almost scientific reproduction of ancient Greek architecture, in this case the Doric Order, that I really enjoyed.

What I assume to be the administrative offices are located to the north.

While simpler in design, the central portal is unified in form with its more elaborate neighbors.

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