1824: The need to build a bridge across the Cumberland River brought workers from Pittsburg, mostly Irish, to Nashville. There was no priest nor church. Through contributions from members of all faiths of the area, a church was built on what is now Capitol Hill. 1837: Richard Pius Miles from Maryland was elected the first Bishop of Nashville, and was consecrated in 1838 at the Cathedral in Bardstown, KY. His family was closely related to that of Daniel Boone. He came to Nashville during Christmas in 1838. 1844: The cornerstone of the present St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows was laid. Delays and lack of funds postponed the dedication and completion of this first Cathedral of the Diocese of Nashville. Being so close to the old Church on Capitol Hill, this latter structure was soon abandoned and was turned into a hospital run by the Sisters of Charity. Fire destroyed a great part of the structure, and it was abandoned in 1856. Salvaged materials from this structure were used in the building of the Church of the Assumption in North Nashville. Oct. 31, 1847: St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows Church is dedicated Designed by renowned architect William Strickland, it was a marvel of the day with no interior support columns. Strickland also designed the State Capitol Bldg. in Nashville. During the Civil War, St. Mary was closed as a church, dedicated as a neutral zone, and used as a hospital for both Confederate and Union troops. After the Civil War, St. Mary served as Nashville’s cathedral until 1914. St. Mary is the oldest standing church in the city of Nashville.
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