Monday, August 25, 2008

Not quite robbing banks... (pt. 2)

I mentioned in the previous post that we stopped at the Dickeyville Grotto. What a strange place. It was all built over a 5 year span by Father Mathius Wernerus. The date on the grotto itself is 1929, but I don't know if that's when he started or when he finished. I can't even imagine the amount of labor that went in to building this thing. I took a bunch of pictures, but they don't really show the magnitude of the undertaking.

Here's the main structure. I couldn't get far enough away to get all of it in the photo. Everything is encrusted with colored stones, broken glass and who knows what else. Inside is a shrine that is pretty impressive, but it's all behind glass and hard to get any good pictures as a result. The theme of the Grotto is religion and patriotism. I wasn't aware that they were related, but what the heck.

Each one of the little niches has its own display depicting something or other.

Here's one of my favorites, although I'm not sure what bunnies and squirrels have to do with either religion or patriotism.

Nor do I understand how a kid wearing a dorky hat and oversized boots while smoking a pipe is relevant.

And what's the deal with the antlers?

Christopher Columbus just screams religion and patriotism, don't you think?

I've got lots more, but you probably don't need to see them all. To really experience the, umm, amazing bizarreness that is the Dickeyville Grotto, you have to see it in person. So, next time you're in the vicinity of Dickeyville, be sure to stop for a look. Don't worry, though, because...

There's no Norwegians in Dickeyville.
There's none in the valley, there's none on the hill.
There never was and there never will
be no Norwegians in Dickeyville.

(Lyrics from "There's No Norwegians In Dickeyville" by The Goose Island Ramblers, who happen to be one of my all-time favorite bands.)


FranIAm said...


Our Lady of Lourdes meets Yankee Doodle Kitchy Dandy.


Thanks for these photos- I have not heard of this place until your first post about the trip yesterday.

Suzy said...

Fran, come and visit and we'll take you there. Promise. (We passed another grotto in Buena Vista, Iowa which we opted not to go to. Next time. I fear it will pale in comparison to Dickeyville.)

gomonkeygo said...

We've got a Dickeyville magnet on our fridge. Been a fixture for just about our entire marriage. (That's 17 years and counting now as of last week!) We're always pushing people to stop there. That and the "Concrete Park" in far northern Wisconsin - it's even better!

Suzy said...

The concrete park, in Phillips, WI I believe. It's bizarre and beautiful. I'll have to look up our photos from the last time we were there (18 years ago.)

We also have to go back to Dickeyville when the gift shop is open. A Dickeyville Grotto magnet! That's right up there with souvenir shot glasses from the Vatican!!

Ed said...

Fran: what Suzy said.

Gomonkeygo; yes, the concrete park is equally cool and bizarre, but in a different way.