Cathedral History

The Glorious Masterworks

Two editions available: Unabridged & Abridged

We are fortunate that our very own Randal Loy devoted more than 10 years to the research, writing and publication of this book, about the amazing stained glass windows and other art in our Cathedral, as well as the fascinating history of our parish.

Click the link above to learn more about the book and how to order it online.

History of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral

Since 1935 Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral has been the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of West Missouri. The congregation evolved from two earlier parish churches: Grace Church, originally founded as St. Paul’s Church and renamed Grace Church in 1873, and Trinity Church, founded in 1883. Trinity Church was located at 10th and Tracy, on the east side of downtown. In 1917, the two merged under the leadership of the Rev. Robert Nelson Spencer, who was later elected Bishop of the Diocese of West Missouri.

The current Cathedral is located on the site of the second Grace Church building. The present Parish Hall was erected in 1890. The foundation of the Cathedral itself was laid in 1889, and the first worship service was held in it on December 16, 1894. The building was consecrated on May 15, 1898. The style of the building is transitional Norman and was designed by Frederick E. Hill, based on ideas from the Rev. Cameron Mann, D. D., rector of Grace Church, who traveled to Europe to study parish and cathedral church designs.

In 1988 extensive repairs and renovations were completed, resulting, in part, from a collapse of a section of the north wall in January 1986. In the renovation of the chancel, liturgical emphasis was places on the Liturgies of Baptism, the Eucharist and the Word.

Grace and Holy Trinity is both a parish and cathedral church, and as such seeks to serve the spiritual needs of the congregation, diocese and the greater community.

More information is available in Ferne Malcolm Welles’ book A Cathedral for the West Side, which is available in the Cathedral Bookstore.

Here are some important dates in Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral history:

July 20,
1870 – The first vestry is elected
1870 – The first Grace Church is built
1898 – Grace Church (our present Cathedral) is consecrated
1917 – Grace and Trinity Churches unite
1922 – The first Baby Wellness Clinic in the world is established through the women of Grace and Holy Trinity
1929 – The church recovers from a disastrous organ fire
1935 – Grace and Holy Trinity becomes the Diocesan Cathedral
1938 – A $10 gift from a choir boy begins the building of the tower
1951 – Properties adjoining 13th Street except the bowling alley are acquired.
1954 – Haden Hall is built for education
1974 – The Covenant with the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is signed
1978 – The Diocesan Center is built
1981 – The Gabriel Kney Organ is installed; The Kansas City Community Kitchen is established
1985 – The Cathedral boundaries as we know them today are complete
1986 – The north wall of the Cathedral falls
1987 – The Cathedral is restored
1999 – Founders’ Hall is completed
2004 – The organ is renovated

Click here for a video about the Cathedral’s stained glass and various archive photos.

Two Cathedrals, One Mission

Downtown Kansas City’s pair of cathedrals has stood watch over the heart of the city for more than a century.  Two blocks north of GHTC, anchoring the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, you can find the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.  The history of this Cathedral goes back to the rustic beginnings of Kansas City itself in its humble beginnings as a log cabin near its present location.  The newest chapter in the history of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception began in February 2003 with the rededication of the Cathedral after a lengthy renovation.

Interior photo of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

(Catholic Key photo/Joe Cory) Visiting prelates gather for the Eucharistic prayer during the Mass of Dedication celebrated February 22, 2003, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City.

The Cathedrals have a long history of working together to make God’s word stronger in Kansas City. Many of us have taken part in joint services on Ash Wednesday or other times during the year, or maybe we have taken part in joint retreats or classes.  But did you know that there are two formal covenants between the Cathedrals?  They outline the overall aspiration for stronger unity in Christ’s Church and spell out the Cathedrals’ great desire for a strong partnership in Kansas City.