The Grotto of the Redemption

99 Counties | FIND Iowa
Jul 25, 2024 | 02:02

How did availability of materials and time impact the construction of the Grotto?

The small town of West Bend, Iowa is home to a huge feat of engineering and design success. Let's see how one man's vision resulted in a beautiful, above ground "cave" is called The Grotto of the Redemption.


Abby Brown:

If the dark corners and sparkling stones of this structure could talk, they would have quite the story to tell.

This is The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. It's an utterly unexpected site as you travel through this rural area. This structure was built a long time ago by a priest, Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein. He and one other person did most of the construction themselves.

Father Dobberstein designed The Grotto to tell the story of Jesus. He gathered the most precious and beautiful stones he could find and even had them brought in by the car load. These are not stones you'd normally see in Iowa, they were collected from all over the United States and the world; from beaches and deserts, riverbeds and caves.

The word "grotto" actually means: an artificial cave built on the surface to be artistic and beautiful. The Grotto of the Redemption definitely lives up to its name.

Looking around and walking through The Grotto of the Redemption is a jaw-dropping experience; it's just something you don't see every day. But knowing the story behind it, that one man had a spiritual and artistic vision he wanted to build and share, well, that just makes everything you see here so much more interesting.

Every county in Iowa has a vision to showcase. Thanks for visiting Palo Alto County with me.