Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, 1826

205 Church Street Vincennes, IN 47591

Architect/Designer:  Bishops Bruté & Hailandiére


The classically designed Basilica features a large front pediment that rises above the symmetrical façade. The 1840 steeple and bell tower are done in a similarly classical style, with a cupola viewing platform. The façade is a simple and elegant design, three arched entries below three statues of the saints. The semi-circular domed apse can be seen from the rear of the basilica creating visual interest from every angle. The interior features an extensive collection of art, including murals, sculpture and stained glass that depict Catholic history and tenets. The architectural details of the interior include large poplar pillars, encased in plaster and painted to resemble marble. The cathedral’s complex includes a French and Indian cemetery, where more than four thousand of the state’s earliest settlers are buried, including soldiers and patriots of the American Revolution.


The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier stands on the site of three former churches, the first of which was built in 1732. The Basilica has the honor of being the oldest catholic cathedral in Indiana and was given the status of basilica in 1970 based on its importance to Vincennes history.


National Register of Historic Places, 1976

Style: Classical Revival

Owner (past/present): Past: Roman Catholic Dioceses of Vincennes , Present: Dioceses of Evansville

Materials: Brick, Tennessee marble

Additions and/or changes with date: 1840, bell tower added, Various interior restoration

Historic use/current use: Catholic cathedral

Is building open to the public?: Yes, tours are available by reservation

Condition : Good

Website and/or sources of information:


Research Sources:

Historic Vincennes. “Old Cathedral (Basilica of St. Francis Xavier).” Accessed August 12, 2015.

Indiana Catholic. “Dedication of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral – August 8, 1841.” Accessed August 12, 2015.

Indiana Landmarks. “Old Cathedral, St. Francis Xavier Chatholic Church.” Accessed August 12, 2015.


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