The Basilica of Saint Mary has been chosen to compete for $1 million in preservation funding.

As one of only 25 historic places selected, The Basilica of Saint Mary will participate in a three-week Facebook contest that invites the Twin Cities community to cast votes for local historic places they would like to see receive funding.

To vote, you can go to and share personal stories and photos about The Basilica of Saint Mary. Voting runs from Sept. 20 to Oct. 12.

“We are thrilled to be included in this important preservation program,” says Emily Hjelm, executive director of The Basilica Landmark. “Winning the popular vote will allow us to fund the complete restoration of the Narthex and Sacristy which has become damaged due to decades of moisture from the leaking roof and smoke from candles.”

Participants may vote once daily. The site that receives the highest number of popular votes is guaranteed to receive funding.

At the end of the voting period, sponsors American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a special Advisory Committee comprised of Twin Cities civic and preservation leaders will review the public’s votes along with each site’s preservation needs to determine how the $1 million in preservation grants will be awarded. 

Recognized as one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture in the country, The Basilica of Saint Mary was constructed between 1907 and 1915. It’s also the first Basilica in the United States, honored by Pope Pius XI in 1926. And it has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

As part of the competition, St. Mary’s is holding an open house on Oct. 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. for a “behind the scenes” tour of the basilica.