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New cupola for Cathedral of St. Vibiana

New cupola for Cathedral of St. Vibiana

Jan. 14, 1976: Workers place a new cupola atop the Cathedral of St. Vibiana as a $500,000 renovation nears completion. Once the cupola was in place, a new metal cross was placed on top.

The Times reported on Jan. 15, 1976:

The bells were removed from the 110-foot tower in 1966 when examination revealed structural weaknesses and other problems.

“The bell tower cupola was very badly dry-rotted and termite-eaten,” said Auxiliary Bishop William Johnson, a vicar of the cathedral at 2nd and Main Sts.

Back in 1971, many churches in Los Angeles were damaged by the Sylmar earthquake. Times religion editor Dan L. Thrapp reported in a Feb. 13, 1971, story on the many earthquake-damaged houses of worship:

Oddly the oldest of the great structures of Los Angeles, St. Vibiana Cathedral, dedicated in 1876, suffered only superficial damage.

It was renovated a few years ago and the heavy bells in its tower removed. Had this not been done, the old cathedral at 2nd and Main Sts., might have joined the long list of heavily damaged structures.

But St. Vibiana did not survive the 1994 Northridge earthquake. After suffering heavy damage the cathedral was to be torn down, but opposition from conservations led to a compromise. The city of Los Angeles swapped land near the 101 Freeway for the St. Vibiana site. The new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was built on the former city land and St. Vibiana became an event space.

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