The Washington National Cathedral has raised more than $2 million for repairs after last summer’s earthquake but still needs $18 million to fully restore the building’s hand-carved stonework, officials announced this week.
The 5.8-magnitude quake in August caused cracking in scattered parts of the ceiling and damaged four spires on its central tower. Officials estimated that repairs would cost $15 million at the time, but the effort is now expected to cost $20 million.
The cathedral’s website claims that the repair work could be completed in five years if funded immediately. The concentration of the damage in the ceiling makes the effort difficult. Each damaged stone of the homemade structure must be reconstructed by hand as well, a feat that took the original masons 83 years.
The cathedral is depending entirely on private donations to fund the restoration. Its FEMA eligibility has yet to be determined and, like many other buildings in the region, it did not have earthquake insurance.
Scaffolds have been erected atop the damaged central tower and the pinnacles in the west towers and will remain until funding can be secured to complete their repairs.