The Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, formerly the Cathedral of St. Louis, and colloquially referred to as the "Old Cathedral," is the only example in America of a historic Catholic landmark positioned under a modern secular landmark.
The basilica—the oldest Catholic church and the oldest building in St. Louis—stands below the monumental Gateway Arch, a glittering symbol of the city's history.
When it was consecrated in 1834, the Old Cathedral was surrounded by homes and businesses. That busy neighborhood has been replaced by the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a tribute to President Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France. (There is a new cathedral, too, outside downtown.)
There has been a Catholic church here since 1764, when St. Louis—then known as Laclede’s Village—was founded. The Old Cathedral has had a rich history. One of the first chapters of the St. Vincent de Paul Society was established here, and the son of Sacagawea, the guide of explorers Lewis and Clark, was baptized here.