The Grotto of the Redemption

Useful Information

Location: West Bend, IA.
Open: MAY to 15-OCT daily 10-17, tours every hour. 16-OCT to APR only for groups by appointment. [2004]
Light: electric
Guided tours:  
Address: Grotto of the Redemption, P.O. Box 376, West Bend, Iowa 50597, Tel: +1-515-887-2371, Fax: +1-515-887-2372. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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~1900 Paul Dobberstein became very ill with pneumonia.
1912 grotto started.
1954 Father Dobberstein died. Father Louis Greving continued construction on the Grotto.
1994 Father Greving retired and has been replaced by Deacon Gerald Streit.


This Grotto of the Redemption is the largest Grotto in the world. It is said to be the largest collection of minerals and fossils in the world. It covers an entire city block.

This grotto was built by Father Paul Dobberstein at the beginning of the 20th century. He became very ill with pneumonia, and in a prayer to the Blessed Mother, he asked that his health might be restored and promised to build a shrine to honor the Virgin Mary. When he started in 1912, visitors came to see his remarkable work and left donations to cover the costs. So he decided to include the whole story of mankind, from the fall of Adam and Eve to his redemption through Chris. He built a complex of nine grottos which took 42 years.