I was headed to a cousin's wedding reception in southwest Wisconsin a few Saturdays ago. Somehow, I missed my turn and wound my way around town only to face the World Famous Dickeyville Grotto.

Photo Credit: Keith B. via Canva
Photo Credit: Keith B. via Canva
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I do recall requesting to stop on family trips to Potosi & Tennyson. Still, it occurred to me that I had been driving past the Grotto my entire life and had no accurate recollection of ever stopping to see it.

I typically try to live in the moment and let the path unfold before me. So, I pulled over and got out to take a look with plenty of time before the wedding reception. I was soon grateful to discover a unique yet fun roadside religious experience at the nearly 100-year-old Grotto.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I know I must have visited the Grotto as a young child.

 

Photo Credit; Keith B. ​
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Photo Credit; Keith B.

The Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines are the works of Father Matthis Wernerus, the Holy Ghost parish pastor from 1918 to 1931.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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Inspired by a love of God and Country, Father Wernerus left no stone unturned when he undertook the five-year project from 1925 to 1930.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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The shrine's overall construction struck me. While nowhere near the scale and stature, I was reminded of Barcelona's beautiful Parc Güell, designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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Still, the Dickeville Grotto is a fantastic creation of stone, mortar, and a collection of brightly colored objects. Combined, it creates a fascinating and fun artistic and spiritual expression and an inspiring roadside attraction.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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Several shrines in the Grotto garden reflect patriotism, sacraments & saints themes, each worthy of a close look to study the detail and thoughtful work of Father Wernerus nearly a century ago.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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Broken pottery, glass, gems, sea shells, corals, metals, crystals, petrified wood, and green moss create a spectacular and inspiring sight.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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There are several shrines to see, and the entire Grotto is dedicated to the virtues of religion and patriotism. Spend a little time seeing how the meticulous stone, shell, and colorful placements create exciting and intricate patterns.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
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Photo Credit; Keith B.

Open daily for walking tours throughout the year; there is no specific fee to enter. Still, all donations are appreciated and used for the upkeep of the Grotto and grounds.

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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The site is handicap accessible, and guided tours are available Jun-Aug 11:00 am - 4:00 pm (daily) and Sept-Oct 10:00 am - 3:00 pm (weekends only)

Photo Credit; Keith B.
Photo Credit; Keith B.
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There is also a gift shop on site with varying hours throughout the year.
Spring: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm (April-May)
Summer: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (Memorial Day - Labor Day)
Fall: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm (Sept-Oct)

Located less than a 15-minute drive from Dubuque, The DIckeyville Grotto and Shrine is on Highway 61 and the Wisconsin Great River Road.

For more information, visit DickeyvilleGrotto.com.

Image Credit: Google Maps
Image Credit: Google Maps
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