Tour Guide Notes
To drive the short distance between Saint Paul’s two great domes, the State Capitol and the Cathedral of Saint Paul, one travels along John Ireland Boulevard.
In 1904, Archbishop John Ireland (1838-1918) traveled to St. Louis, as many tourists did, to visit The Louisiana Purchase Exposition. While there he was introduced to its chief of design, French architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray (1861-1917).
The two hit it off. Ireland had studied in France and could speak the language well. Masqueray grew up in Rouen in the shadow of great cathedrals, which inspired him to pursue a career in architecture, studying at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts.
Archbishop Ireland was struggling with the challenges of needing a new, larger cathedral to accommodate the growing congregation.
He invited Masqueray to come to Saint Paul for a visit. Masqueray never left.
He not only designed the Cathedral, perfectly situated on the edge of Saint Anthony Hill, facing east overlooking downtown Saint Paul, but also the equally beautiful Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, along with several others in the Twin Cities and region.
Sadly, neither Ireland nor his great architect friend lived to see the completion of these inspiring masterpieces. Masqueray collapsed on a street car, May 25, 1917, and died the next day. Archbishop Ireland passed the next year.
Yet the legacy of their friendship remains for all to see today over 100 years later.
By Douglas Rosenquist, retired tour guide and staff writer for Adventure Partners LLC