Religion: Washington's Church

Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral. —Robert Louis Stevenson

Practicality and a Puritan bias toward plainness have made the white clapboard church, not the soaring stone spire, the nation's quintessential symbol of worship. Yet some Americans prefer to honor God in grandeur. One was George Washington, who dreamed of "a great church for national purposes in the capital city." It was only a century later that members of his Episcopal Church began making plans to build a towering Gothic cathedral atop the highest point of land in...

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