Contrary to CNN’s breathless claims an hour ago, today’s earthquake did not cause gargoyles to fall off the National Cathedral. However, the spires on the main tower sustained some damage. In the photo below, note the blunted spire on the left and the cockeyed one on the right; the building lost at least three pinnacles.
I spotted what may have been a section of broken stained glass, some rubble on the stairs where part of a spire reportedly fell, at least one other missing piece of ornamental stonework, and cathedral administrators anxiously surveying the foundation for signs of more serious damage.
The yellow-tape perimeter grew larger between 2 and 4 p.m., but the gargoyles all seem to be intact, which isn’t surprising; there’s at least as much unseen stone anchoring each one to the building as there is sticking out of the side.
Those of us for whom the cathedral is indispensable hope that the damage doesn’t extend beyond what we can see.
UPDATE #2, AUGUST 24, 2011: The cathedral has a website devoted to earthquake damage; they’re soliciting funds to help with repairs.