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Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Entrance Archway - City of St. John's Heritage Site

Basilica Entrance Archway
Basilica Entrance Archway, St. John's, NL.
Basilica Compound, St. John's, NL.

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

City of St. John's Heritage Building, Structure, Land or Area

Description of Historic Place

The Basilica Entrance Arch is a granite archway which stands in front of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist which is located at 200 Military Road in St. John’s, NL. This archway has a triple arch and features a statue of St. John the Baptist which is located prominently at the apex of the central arch.

Heritage Value

The Basilica Entrance Arch has been designated a Municipal Heritage Building because it holds aesthetic and historic values.

The Basilica Entrance Arch was originally erected in 1857 and is aesthetically valuable for its style and construction. Built to reflect the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, the church with which it is associated, the Arch is built in the Lombard Romanesque Revival style, also known as the Romanesque Style with an Italian Influence. Standing more than 12 meters tall the Arch was originally constructed as a one-arch structure but was increased to three arches in 1907 when it was moved back to allow for road widening. The Roman archways are flanked by ionic columns illustrating a Classical influence and are constructed of large granite blocks with a statue of St. John perched at the pinnacle of the central arch. St. John is the patron saint of the city of St. John’s and one of the patrons of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. This marble statue is 3.048 meters tall and was sculpted by Fillipio Ghersi in Carrara, Italy. The statue represents John the Baptist preaching penance and holding a baptismal shell in his right hand.

The Basilica Entrance Arch is historically valuable for its association with the construction of the Basilica and Bishop John Mullock. The archway was originally constructed in 1857 under the supervision of Bishop Mullock. The construction of the Basilica was begun under Bishop Michael Fleming, but after his death in 1855, Mullock continued his legacy by finishing work on the Basilica as well as the construction of Presentation Convent, also located on the Basilica grounds.

Source: Designated at a meeting of the City of St. John’s Municipal Council held on July 24, 2006, Council Directive R2006-07-24/24.

Character Defining Elements

The following elements of the Basilica Entrance Arch embody its heritage value and should be preserved:

-its location and orientation on Military Road;
-overall dimensions, height and width of entire arch;
-marble statue of St. John the Baptist, and placement of that statue;
-triple arch span;
-use of granite blocks in the construction;
-Roman arches with granite keystone; and
-ionic columns flanking archways.

Location and History

Community St. John's
Municipality City of St. John's
Civic Address 200 Military Road
Construction 1857 - 1857
Style Other
Website Link http://www.thebasilica.ca/tour.htm