Friday, January 4, 2013

Field Trip: D.C.'s Old Post Office and Basilica Shrine

The clock tower in this drawing was inspired by the Old Post Office, says N.
Shortly after Christmas we visited my parents in Washington D.C. for a couple days.  In addition to taking N. out to try ice skating for the very first time, we revisited one of his favorite buildings, the Old Post Office (completed in 1899).  A true Victorian at heart, N. loves its Richardsonian Romanesque styling, though this is part of what made the building obsolete almost as soon as it was built.  We've been to it several times and highly recommend the panoramic views from the clock tower.  I gather that there was talk last year of Trump turning this underused government building into a luxury hotel... 

 From the Old Post Office we took a Metro ride (a treat in itself for our train-loving boy) out to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  N.'s long-term passion for old buildings began with cathedrals, although his interests have since branched out to many other kinds of buildings, so I was interested to see what he thought of this neo-Byzantine behemoth, so different from the neo-Gothic National Cathedral which we visited several years ago.  He spent a long time going over what seemed like every inch of it, looking at one Marian side chapel after another.  When queried afterwards, he said his favorite parts were the 1920s Crypt Church and the tower.  He didn't much like the actual architecture of the rest of the building but he loved the elaborate art and decoration throughout, including what he called "the Greek God-Jesus" mosiac that dominates the apse ceiling.
Gingerbread Basilica!
N.'s favorite of the buildings he saw on the Catholic University campus, right behind the Basilica.
The official Basilica website is here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never tire of the Old Post Office.
Come back soon!