Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc. Unsplash.

American Gothic Architecture: 10 Beautiful Buildings to See


Gothic Architecture is a European architectural style that evolved from Romanesque Architecture. It is a very common style utilized by churches.  From around 1100-1500, these churches loomed over their respective towns with towering spires and pointed arches. These were the tallest towers yet. Stained glass windows utilized allowed sunlight to pour into these structures.

The stonemasons adorned the windows with ornaments that told biblical stories. Gargoyles, whose primary function was to carry rain water away off the roof of the structure, also decorated the buildings. Here are the 10 Beautiful American Gothic Architecture Buildings to see.

1. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Photo by Carolina Nitichin. Unsplash.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is a Neo- Gothic church designed by the architect, James Renwick Junior. This cathedral is located at 5th Avenue and 50th Street, Manhattan, New York City.

The construction of this church lasted from 1858 to 1878. The reason of this project was to replace the old Saint Patrick’s. Some classic architectural features can be found at Saint Patrick’s which are stained glasses, ribbed arches, cluster columns, etc. In 1976, it was declared National Historic Landmark.

2. Trinity Church

Architectural historians consider the present Trinity Church building designed by architect Richard Upjohn, the first and finest example of Gothic Revival architecture. The church was built in 1846.

In 1976, the United States Department of the Interior designated Trinity Church a National Historic Landmark because of its architectural significance and its place within the history of New York City.

3. Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

Photo by Ricardo Gomez. Unsplash.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is officially known as the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the City and Diocese of New York. It is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The Cathedral’s building began with a design contest in 1888 which was won by the architectural firm of Heins & LaFarge.

Due to the difficult site, which required a vast foundation, the first small section was dedicated in 1911. By this time, the Byzantinesque aspects of the interior had become unfashionable and were modified in the direction of English Perpendicular Gothic. Upon the death of Heins in 1907, architect Ralph Adams Cram was brought in and began to take the great nave in a French Gothic direction.

4. Lyndhurst Mansion

Lyndhurst, also known as the Jay Gould estate, is a Gothic Revival country house that sits in its own 67-acre park beside the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York. It stands at about a half mile south of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Unlike later mansions along the Hudson River, Lyndhurst’s rooms are few and of a more modest scale, and strongly Gothic in character. Hallways are narrow, windows small and sharply arched, and ceilings are fantastically peaked, vaulted, and ornamented.

5. Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral

Photo by Robert Arrington. Unsplash.

Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral is a parish of the Roman Catholic Church located at 660 California Street in  San Francisco, California. It was built in 1854 in the Gothic Revival style. The cathedral was made a designated San Francisco Landmark on April 11, 1968.

Old St. Mary’s was established, as a mission, by Paulist Father Henry Ignatius Stark, C.S.P. The cornerstone of the cathedral was placed on Sunday, July 17, 1853, at the corner of California and Dupont Streets by the Bishop of Monterrey Joseph S. Alemany. It was thereafter built by Chinese laborers with brick brought around Cape Horn, and granite cut in China.

6. Sather Tower

The bell tower on the University of California Berkeley campus is called Sather Tower. It was a gift from Jane K. Sather in memory of her husband, Peder who was a prominent banker and a trustee of the university. Sather Tower is a Gothic Revival style bell tower with clocks on all four faces.

It was designed by architect John Galen Howard who modeled it after the St. Mark’s Square Campanile in Venice. It is the third tallest clock tower in the world and the tallest bell tower outside of Italy. It stands at 307 feet tall. There is an observation deck on the tower’s eighth floor that has views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

7. Woolworth Building

Photo by Karen Cann. Unsplash.

The Woolworth Building is an early American skyscraper. It was designed by architect Cass Gilbert. Woolworth Building is located at 233 Broadway in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It was the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930, with a height of 792 feet (241 m).

More than a century after its construction, it remains one of the 100 tallest buildings in the United States. Cass Gilbert designed the Woolworth Building in the neo-Gothic style. The building resembles European Gothic cathedrals; Reverend S. Parkes Cadman dubbed it “The Cathedral of Commerce” in a booklet published in 1916.

8. Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic church located at Waterbury, Connecticut. The cruciform cathedral inspired by French Gothic architecture was designed by Leon Coquard of Detroit. It was later on completed by Denver architects, Aaron Gove and Thomas Walsh.

The church has a foundation of Gunnison granite while the exterior walls was made of Indiana limestone and much of the interior used marble from Colorado. The finest Carrara marble from Italy was used for the altars, pedestals, statues, pulpit, bishop’s throne and communion rail.

9. Grace Cathedral

Photo by Alex Azabache. Unsplash.

Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral on Nob Hill, San Francisco, California. The initial plans of the cathedral were drawn up by George Bodley. This were later redesigned by his partner Cecil Hare after Bodley’s death.

Later on, Hobart acting as Hare’s local agent, completed the design. The overall plan and exterior of the French Gothic cathedral is inspired by cathedrals at Amiens, Paris, Beauvais, and Chartres. The interior features are inspired by the Aragon Palma Cathedral.

10. Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston. It is located in Charleston, South Carolina. The cathedral was designed by Brooklyn architect Patrick Keely in the Gothic Revival style. It was later opened in 1907.

The architect, Ephraim Francis Baldwin, designed the church in a High Victorian Gothic style that incorporated French building traditions. An aspect of gothic architecture in the cathedral is the magnificent height of the structure. 


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