Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Tour
Self-guided tours of the beautiful Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception are available when mass and events aren’t taking place. This Catholic Church was founded in 1833 when a French missionary named Father Benedict Roux came to KCMO intent on forming a parish. By 1835, a log cabin was built at 11th and Broadway dubbed St. John Francis Regis. Father Bernard Donnelly served as the church’s priest from 1845 – 1880 and built a brick church where the log cabin stood in 1857.
Kansas City formed a dioceses in 1880 with Bishop John Joseph Hogan, who selected Father Donnelly’s church to become the city’s cathedral. The cornerstone was laid in 1882, and the bones of the cathedral as visitors know it today was set. On the first day of service as a cathedral, even with temporary windows and un-plastered walls, 3,000 people attended the 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. service.
Making of a Landmark
The cathedral was built 250 feet above street level, making it an instant landmark. The 11 famous bells were added in 1895, and in 1912 local artists handcrafted the stained glass windows showing biblical stories. The cathedral was renovated in 1955, complete with a gold leaf cupola, cross and finished copper dome in 1960.
Dedicated, renovated and restored again in 2003, the cathedral is a favorite destination for tours and services in KCMO. Visitors of any faith are welcome. Even when the cathedral opened, it was a popular tourist spot with tickets sold to see the views. Throughout the early 20th century, standing-room only was common to see the famous Cathedral Choir, and it remains one of the most attended services in the Midwest.