Explore Our Gardens Online
Welcome to the Cathedral Close
These are the 57 acres of gardens and grounds that surround the Washington National Cathedral. Whether you're viewing from home or simply want to follow along while strolling the gardens, the 3 acres of the Bishop's Garden, 5 acres of the Olmsted Woods, and surrounding landscape of the Cathedral await exploration.
Key Figures in Cathedral Garden History:
- Henry Yates Satterlee, the first Episcopal Bishop of Washington
- Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the landscape designer of the Cathedral Close
- Florence Brown Bratenahl, landscape designer
Timeline of Key Events in Cathedral Garden History:
- 1817 - Joseph Nourse purchases Mount Saint Alban (later to become the Cathedral Close).
- 1896 - Henry Yates Satterlee identifies the land atop Mount Saint Alban for the Cathedral—the most commanding spot in the entire Washington area.
- 1898 - President William McKinley attends the dedication of the Peace Cross on the Cathedral Close to mark the end of the Spanish-American War.
- 1907 - Cathedral's cornerstone laid on September 29th.
- 1907 - Olmsted firm begins to develop plans for the Cathedral Close.
- 1916 - All Hallows Guild forms as volunteer organization to provide for the care and beautification of the Cathedral Close. Florence Bratenahl, an early member of the Guild, works with Olmsted on plans for the Cathedral grounds.
- 1928 - The Bishop's Garden is dedicated.
- 1928-1936 Florence Brown Bratenahl serves as Cathedral's landscape designer. Her work includes:
- Norman Court entrance to Bishop's Lawn (1928)
- Pool of St. Catherine (1929)
- Pilgrim Steps and adjacent plantings (1930)
- Landscaping of the College of Preachers (1929-1930)
- Early planting for Bishop's Garden Hortulus and Upper Perennial Border (1928)
- 1961 - Heinz Warneke's Prodigal Son statue is installed in the Bishop's Garden.
- 1990 - The completion of the west towers marked the end of the 83 year construction of the Cathedral.
- 1998-2008 - Major restoration of the Olmsted Woods takes place.
- 2005 - All Hallows Amphitheater is dedicated.
- 2013 - Rededication of the Bishop's Garden following a 3-year long renovation and restoration.
- 2019 - Pollinator Garden installed along Beauvoir Road
Help us Keep the Gardens Growing
Partner with us to ensure that the 57 acres of gardens and grounds surrounding Washington National Cathedral continue to be a haven of peace and refreshment in the midst of the Nation’s Capital.