Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Abbey Basilica of Mary Help of Christians

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Institution Name: Belmont Abbey College
Original/Historic Place Name: Abbey Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians
Location on Campus: next to Monastery
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1892-1893original design Dederichs, Peter
1909addition of tower clock Unknown
1964-1965complete interior renovation, addition of narthex Schmitt, Fredrich H.
1997additions of station corridor; expansion of sacristy Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: granite
Walls: brick (made on the property by Lentz and McKnight, a local artisanal firm); wood
Roof: slate
1893-present (2007)chapel

Significance: architecture, culture, history, religion
Landmark designation:
National RegisterBelmont Abbey Cathedral (1973)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Abbey Basilica of Mary Help of Christians is the center of campus design. Its architectural style is German Gothic-Revival. The Basilica was the largest Catholic church in the state at the time of its construction, and the Benedictine monks of Belmont did much of the construction work themselves (with Brother Gilbert Koberzynski crafting the ceiling in the style of a sailing vessel).The interior of the church was completely renovated in 1964-1965.

The original art glass windows of the Basilica were painted then heat-fused, allowing for greater detail than was possible with stained glass. The windows were designed and executed by the Royal Bavarian Establishment of Francis Mayer and Company (Munich); they were part of a display that won four gold medals at the Columbian Exhibition, the World's Fair of 1892. The Basilica also held cathedral rank from 1910-1977. It was elevated to the rank of a Minor Basilica on July 27, 1998. The Basilica has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Abbey Basilica of Maryhelp. Brochure. Belmont, NC: Southern Benedictine Society of North Carolina, 1999.

Baumstein, Paschal. The Art of Michael McInerney. Booklet. Belmont, NC: The Archives of Belmont Abbey, 1992.

Baumstein, Pascal. A Carolina Basilica: a History of the Monastic Church at Belmont Abbey, Belmont, North Carolina. Booklet. Belmont, NC: Belmont Abbey College, 1999.

Baumstein, Pascal. The Legacy of Felix Hintemeyer. Booklet. Belmont, NC: Goodwill Publishers, 2000.

Baumstein, Pascal. My Lord of Belmont: A Biography of Leo Haid. Kings Mountain, NC: Herald House, 1985.

Baumstein, Pascal, and Debra G. Estes. Blessing the Years to Come: Belmont Abbey--A Pictorial Perspective. Belmont, NC: Belmont Abbey College, 1997.

Baumstein, Pascal, and Beth Bargar and Debra G. Estes. Booklet. A Walking Tour of Historic Belmont Abbey. Booklet. Belmont, NC: Belmont Abbey College, 1997.

Belmont Abbey Cathedral [Belmont Abbey College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1972.

The Grotto and Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. Pamphlet. Belmont, NC: Southern Benedictine Soceity of North Carolina, 2001.

Hamilton, Boniface. "Deepening Union: A Benedictine Commitment." Typescript. St. Joseph, MN: The American Benedictine Academy, [2002?].

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections
Government Offices
Other: Archives, Belmont Abbey College

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