Under One Roof: Local church needs financial assistance to preserve history

The Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul has stood tall for more than 130 years

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — In 1980, the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

42 years later, Fr. David Carter says the building’s interior is falling apart.

“We have all of these communities that meet under one roof, but this roof needs some repair,” Carter said. “The plaster is falling down because there has been water infiltration. We thought that it was in good shape. But it turns out we’ve had lots of damage.”

The Basilica’s “Under One Roof” project originally exceeded its $1.5 million goal for repairs to the building’s infrastructure.

But since the project’s original quotes, with inflation on the rise, the church now needs another $500,000 to restore the aging landmark.

“Our costs have skyrocketed and in some places doubled from what we had originally been quoted,” Carter said. “The reality is we’re going to have to do the roof, we’re going to have to do the heating and air. They are all past their prime and if we don’t do anything, this place will start crumbling.”

Church volunteer Jason McCulley said the building’s western side, in particular, has faced the worst of the weather damage.

“There’s damage in the roof in a few places and this wall is being obliterated,” McCulley said. “And this is the youngest end of the church.”

When asked how to save the building, he said the Basilica needs more donations.

“Just a sheet of plywood is outrageously priced right now and then we’re trying to keep up the maintenance on a 130-year-old building,” McCulley said.

Carter also said the building serves more than just the local Catholic community, hosting plenty of weddings, funerals and concerts.

But to continue doing so, work needs to be done.

“Though this is our church home, we’d like it also to be part of the Chattanooga home and that’s why we’re appealing to the greater Chattanooga community,” Carter said.

Fr. Carter is also hoping the restoration of the building appeals to those who love preserving historical buildings and monuments, as well.

More information on how to donate, if interested, can be found on the Basilica’s website.

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