The original dream of a great cathedral in Spokane came to The Right Reverend Edward Makin Cross in 1924, shortly after he arrived to be the new missionary bishop. Together with architect Harold C. Whitehouse, the Bishop began to plan for a gothic cathedral atop the hill. The dream became reality within the lifetime of Bishop Cross, the only time known that a major cathedral has been mostly completed within the lifetime of the founding bishop.
The Cathedral has classical Gothic architecture with a strong French influence. The structure is solid masonry with exterior stone quarried near Tacoma, Washington; the interior of the nave is of sandstone from Idaho, and the remainder of the interior is of Indiana limestone. No structural wood or steel were used.
Construction began in 1925, with the dedication of the first section of the church on October 20, 1929, but construction lagged during the Great Depression and World War II. Starting again in 1948, gradually more sections were added. By 1961, the building assumed its present form.