11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Cathedral of St. Vibiana

Year Listed: 1997
Location: California
Threat: Poor Public Policy, Development

Significance

St. Vibiana's Catholic Cathedral is one of Los Angeles' most important 19th century structures. Its Baroque-inspired Italian façade contrasted with the handsome 83-foot bell tower at the rear of the property. Completed in 1876, the structure was a stunning piece of architecture for a city still emerging from its pueblo origins. As many of the city's other historic buildings were destroyed, St. Vibiana remained, making the cathedral one of the last buildings from the late 19th century still standing in Los Angeles. In the early 1990s, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced plans to demolish St. Vibiana and construct a new cathedral on the same site. Matters worsened when the building suffered damage in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, and in 1996 the Archdiocese began demolishing St. Vibiana without permits.