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St. John Gualbert Cathedral

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1895, Beezer Brothers. 117 Clinton St.

St. John Gualbert Cathedral is one of the highlights of Johnstown, and a landmark in the early architectural careers of the Beezer brothers. By using structural steel in the walls to support the roof, the architects could use lighter materials, including decorative terra-cotta, for the walls. The church measures 124 feet in length and rises 47 feet. The 165-foot-tall square corner tower is, as the architects intended, reminiscent of the Campanile of San Marco in Venice in both form and decoration. Ironically, this tower is older than the tower so often photographed in Venice. The original tenth-century Venetian tower collapsed unexpectedly in 1902, and its replacement was not completed until 1904, by which time the Johnstown tower had been standing for nearly a decade. The church's interior space was modernized after Vatican II, but retains its single-span coved and coffered ceiling, round-arched windows, and fluted pilaster strips with Corinthian capitals.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "St. John Gualbert Cathedral", [Johnstown, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 315-315.

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