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Grotto of the Redemption

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1912–1954, Father Paul M. Dobberstein. North Broadway, between 2nd and 3rd streets
  • Grotto of the Redemption (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)
  • Grotto of the Redemption (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)

The Grotto of the Redemption is Iowa's answer to England's numerous picturesque gardens of the eighteenth century. This blocklong folly was begun in 1912 by Father Paul M. Dobberstein. He continued to add to it over the years until his death in 1954. It was then taken up by Father L. H. Greving. This wonderful folk folly is organized around 9 grottoes and the 14 stations of the cross. Stones and shells from all over the world have been utilized in the construction of the grotto, and a detailed and integrated series of biblical stories is revealed in the various grottoes. While the atmosphere of a succession of cavelike grottoes prevails within, externally the grotto looks like a medieval castle much worn by the effects of age. A circular tower surmounted by a cross projects above what appears to be the castle's keep. Accompanying the grotto is the church of Saints Peter and Paul. The landscaped garden spreads out to a small artificial lake.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Grotto of the Redemption", [West Bend, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 451-451.

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