Saints Peter and Paul Basilica

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and Buildings
Location 214 E. 8th St., Chattanooga, Tennessee
Coordinates 35°2′47″N 85°18′23″W / 35.04639°N 85.30639°W / 35.04639; -85.30639Coordinates: 35°2′47″N 85°18′23″W / 35.04639°N 85.30639°W / 35.04639; -85.30639
Area 2.1 acres (0.85 ha)
Built 1888-1890
Architect Peter Dedericks, Jr.
Architectural style Gothic, Tudor Revival
NRHP Reference # 79002441[1]
Added to NRHP December 11, 1979

Saints Peter and Paul Basilica is a historic Roman Catholic church at 214 E. 8th Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is one of the oldest continuing parishes in the Diocese of Knoxville.

Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Chattanooga was founded in January 1852. The small but growing Catholic community in Chattanooga would conduct Mass in numerous buildings through the parish's early years. One former building included a nearly completed stone church demolished by the occupying Union Army during the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. The Army of the Cumberland under the command of Major General William Rosecrans used the stone from the church to construct fortifications and culverts in support of the Union Army. Under the leadership of Father William Walsh, an Irish priest, ground was broken on the current site on February 1, 1888. The current building was dedicated June 29, 1890. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 as Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and Buildings.

Stained-glass windows in the basilica, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, depict significant events in the lives of the parish's patron saints. The life of Saint Peter is depicted in the east side windows and the life of Saint Paul in the west side. The basilica's walls are also adorned with 14 polychrome Stations of the Cross, whose scenes depict the suffering, death, and burial of Jesus Christ.[2] The Kilgen organ in the church was built in 1936.

Saints Peter and Paul was raised to a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI and inaugurated by Bishop Richard Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville on October 22, 2011.[3] Monsignor George E. Schmidt, Jr., who became the pastor in 1986, is among more than 30 sons of the parish that have gone onto the priesthood.


  1. National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. "History of Sts Peter and Paul, St Peter and Paul Chattanooga Basilica History". 2010-10-24. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  3. "Saints Peter and Paul Church Becomes a Basilica in Chattanooga". 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
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