On June 17, 1898 the corner stone of the Sacred Heart Guadalupe Cathedral was set. It is still very evident today on the corner near Ross and Pearl Street in downtown Dallas. When dedicated in 1902 the Souvenir Brochure describes the Cathedral as a “stately structure of pure Gothic architecture 104 by 160 feet in size. It is built of pressed brick and when finished will have a large and small tower. The clerestory is of unusual height giving a very imposing appearance. The roof is of tile and all material used in the construction is of most substantial character.”

Some of the stained glass windows were crafted by The Flanangan & Biedenweg Co. of Chicago, Illinois. Since Bishop Dunne had lived and was Pastor of all Saints Church in Chicago for twenty years, it was probably through this association that this company in Chicago was given the opportunity to make some of the stained glass windows.  Another Chicago Company, the Ford Brothers, also made some of the windows, mentioning that the “windows in the Sanctuary of Sacred Heart Cathedral of Dallas was work done by their artists.”

In 1901 Bishop Dunne

Guadalupe Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Guadalupe Sacred Heart Catholic Church

sent out a list of the donations he had received from around the diocese, which covered much of the northern area of Texas from Louisiana to El Paso (skipping a few counties just east of El Paso that were thinly settled.) Some of the windows reflect who donated them, for instance the one paid for by the church in Rowlett, Texas states that on the window. This paper also mentioned that there were still large and small windows awaiting donations that will be accepted until June 1901.

The Thomas. F. McEnnis & Co. whose telephone number was 703 in Dallas, Texas in 1902 were the Fire Insurance Agents for the Cathedral. There is a check for $125.00 that was signed by Thomas. F. McEnnis as a donation to the fund being collected to build the Cathedral.  Ludowici Roofing and Tile Company from Chicago, Illinois were responsible for the fire proof everlasting roofing described as interlocking Terra cotta roofing tiles.

Thurber Brick made in Thurber, Texas by the Texas Pacific and Coal Co. produced the dark red bricks used for the Victorian Gothic Cathedral. The greatest production of coal in Texas was from Thurber, Texas in Erath County. Thurber, named for H.K. Thurber, president of the company, was a union town and maybe the only town in Texas to ever be able to claim that. At one time there was a population of over 6000 involved in coal mining. When oil was discovered in Texas and this type of coal was no longer in demand, the town that had been settled by immigrant miners, recruited from Europe, who spoke little English, lost many families.

In 1897 a second industry a large brick plant, came to the new town of Thurber. This new company used clay found on the coal company’s property. The company proudly claimed to have furnished the brick for the Cathedral in Dallas.

When Sacred Heart Guadalupe Cathedral was dedicated in 1902, two of the Dallas newspapers vividly described the interior of the church. One item that was pointed out was that there were between 2000 and 3000 (it depends on who is counting) lights in the ceiling that was sixty feet from the floor level and around the perimeter of the walls. Electricity was a rather new service to be added to a church at this time and it has been said that when the lights were to be turned on, the Light Company had to be notified in advance. The news item mentioned that this might have been the “most well lighted” church in America.

Written by Frances James for Dallas County Pioneer Association‘s Proud Heritage, Volume III.  Some of the windows were donated by members of Rowlett Sacred Catholic Church.
Photo of Sacred Heart Guadalupe Cathedral courtesy George W. Cook collection at SMU”s DeGolyer Library.