Late today, I stumbled on this story, about a tour of the damaged cathedral — and noticed an unusual detail:
The Washington National Cathedral will be offering tours of its unique stone carvings for the first time since the building was damaged by an earthquake last year.
Tours exploring more than 100 gargoyles perched on the cathedral’s facade will begin again Sunday at 2 p.m. The gargoyles include monsters, dogs and horses, as well as “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader.
The cathedral had to suspend the tour, as well as other regular events, following a 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23. The quake caused stonework to fall from the building’s towers and other damage. The cathedral reopened to the public in November.
Darth Vader? The cathedral’s website explains:
In the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower.