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History of the Grotto of the Redemption

Father Paul Dobberstein started construction on the Grotto in 1912. For 42 years, winter and summer, he labored setting ornamental rocks and gems into concrete. Besides the religious objective, Father Dobberstein had still another object in mind.  He adorned his shrine with precious and valuable stones, ores, minerals, fossils, petrifactions, corals and shells.  These have been gathered not only from the many states of the American continent, but literally from all the waters and all the lands of the whole world. Father Dobberstein endured hunger, cold, and long hours and weary miles of travel to search out, collect, identify and place them in their proper setting in the panoramic layout of the huge project. At the Grotto there is an exhibit of geological specimens which is unique and undoubtedly unmatched anywhere in the world. Who can properly estimate what tremendous educational value it will be to students of geology and lapidary in succeeding generations as decade after decade rolls by?  By 1954, when he died, he had created the incredible "Grotto of the Redemption", covering one city block.

After Father Dobbersteins death, Father Louis Greving, who had worked with him for eight years continued construction on the Grotto to finish eight of the grottos left undone.  In 1994 Father Greving retired.  Deacon Gerald Streit was appointed Director of the Grotto and continues the construction and maintenance today.

The Grotto of the Redemption is a composite of nine separate Grottos - each portraying some scene in the life of Christ in His work of redeeming the world.

Statements Often Heard at the Grotto
"Unbelievable....."
"I Feel a sense of peace and serenity..."
" I have traveled Europe, nothing compares to this Grotto.."
"I have been told of the Grotto, but words can not describe
the beauty I see here..."
After a day of filming the movie, THE STRAIGHT STORY, starring Sissy Spacek and Richard Farnsworth, Deacon Gerald Streit told director Mary Sweeney about a profound statement from one of the crew members. "My day (of shooting) was complete when .. a member said to me: I have recently found Christ in my fife, what I have seen and experienced here today confirms my faith, this Grotto is a great gift." The movie is based on the true saga of an elderly Laurens, Iowa man. Alvin Straight drove a riding lawn mower to Wisconsin to see his ailing brother. The film is expected to be released in theatres nation- wide. David lynch also directed the film.