WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Twenty months later, and there's still so much work to be done. The National Cathedral sustained an estimated $23 million of damage during the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011.
The damage was most significant at the top, where the ornately carved pinnacles twisted off and fell on other parts of the structure. It took more than 80 years to build, but a mere 15 seconds for the earthquake to leave its mark.
Joseph Alonso, the Head Stone Mason on the project, says, "It took quite a beating up high, when those waves of energy kept going through the walls and up through those high pinnacles."
The damage is everywhere. Hundreds of limestone fragments, carved in ornate designs, were found scattered around the Cathedral in the earthquake's aftermath. The building is structurally sound, but significant work is still needed to ensure the current damage doesn't get worse. The Cathedral has been raising money for repairs ever since, and as money comes in, repairs get done piece by piece. At the one-year anniversary of the quake, the Eli Lilly Foundation granted $5 million to the restoration and repair project. This has allowed for repairs to the flying buttresses on the east end of the structure.
As extensive as the damage may be, Alonso still considers us fortunate. If the earthquake had lasted a few seconds longer, the results could have been catastrophic.