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