The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament has been serving downtown Sacramento’s Catholic community at 1019 11th St. since 1889, and was the largest church west of the Mississippi River at the time of its construction. This feat that may sound familiar, as the Crocker Art Museum holds a similar title as the first museum to be built west of the Mississippi.
The building’s distinctive exterior was inspired by the Italian Renaissance, but the interior was designed using the Victorian style of the era. For us, the two styles mesh in a very Sacramento — perhaps janky — way. Amazingly, some of the original pews from the 19th century remain in the upper balcony.
Yet perhaps one of the most remarkable features of downtown building is that it has housed one of the only copies of Rafael’s famous “Sistine Madonna’’ painting for nearly 100 years.