"The Dickeyville Grotto" Dickeyville by yooperprof

Dickeyville Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 13 photos

1920s Outsider Art - Catholic Americana

This is from the pamphlet which they hand out at the gift shop: "The Grotto and Shrines erected in the village of Dickeyville WI on Holy Ghost Parish grounds are the works of Father Matthias Wernerus, a Catholic priest, Pastor of the parish from 1918 to 1931. His handiwork in stone, built from 1925 to 1930, is dedicated to the unity of two great American ideals: love of God and love of Country."

"It is a creation in stone, mortar, and bright colored objects: collected material from all over the world. These include colored glass, gems, antique heirlooms of pottery or porcelain, stalagmites and stalactites, sea shells of all kinds, starfish, petrified sea urchins and fossils, and a variety of corals plus amber glass, agate, quartz, ores such as iron, copper and lead, fool's gold, rock crystals, onyx, amethyst, and coal."

Father Wernerus (1873-1931) was a German immigrant and an enthusiastic community organizer. He viewed the creation of this elaborate series of buildings, pathways, and statues as a way to encourage co-operation and devotion among his parishoners. While the design and lay-out was entirely his own, the actual work involved in gathering and assembling the Grotto was carried by the good faithful flock of Dickeyville. You gotta have a dream!

  • Last visit to Dickeyville: May 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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