Iowa Journals

You'll Never Believe What They've Got in Iowa

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A September 1996 trip to Iowa by Casual Tourist

The Grotto of the Redemption Photo, Iowa, United States More Photos
Quote: Three days of site-hopping in Iowa. What, you think that there's nothing exotic in Iowa. Boy are you in for a surprise. Take a look here and see what you've been missing.

You'll Never Believe What They've Got in Iowa

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Overview

Grotto of the Redemption Photo, Iowa, United States
Quote:
If you have a penchant for precious gems and crystals, The Grotto of the Redemption is the place for you. I have never seen so many rare and precious gems in one place in my life. The entire grotto is a wonder. How could one priest build such an ediface? How could someone cement so many precious gems and stones into this marvelous maze? What is something this magnificent doing in Iowa? If it were anywhere else it might be classified as one of the wonders of the world. The Amana Colonies consist of seven separate towns with so much to see and do that you could spend days there. Take a step back in time and see how things were made years ago.Quick Tips: At the Grotto, keep your hammer...Read More
Grotto of the Redemption Photo, Iowa, United States
Quote:
There is almost no way to describe what the Grotto of the Redemption is. A neighbor told my husband and I about it in glowing terms, but I was a bit skeptical. It couldn't really be as interesting as he said it was -- not if it was in Iowa. And who had ever heard of it? Well, we were going on a little trek into Iowa so we figured we'd check it out. The Grotto, actually a composite of nine separate grottos, was begun in 1912 by Father Paul Dobberstein. The project was an absolute obsession for Father Dobberstein. He worked day and night for 42 years to construct the Grotto. From what I gathered, the man worked alone on this passion of his. Something must have sparked Father Dobberstein to ...Read More

Crystals Bigger than a Breadbox

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Story/Tip

Crystals at the Grotto Photo, Iowa, United States
Quote:
Crystals seem to be an "in thing" currently, said to bring certain powers to the owner. In that case, the Grotto must have power to spare. I've seen large crystals before at rock shops. Most places that sell rocks have a few really large pieces. But never before had I seen so many large crystals all in one place -- that is, if you consider the equivalent of a city block as being "in one place." These beautiful, perfect crystals were imbedded in the cement of the grotto. Exploring the paths, shrines and overlooks brought more and more of them to my attention. Ah, to have only one crystal of that size!

Statues

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Story/Tip

Grotto of the Redemption Photo, Iowa, United States
Quote:
No matter where you turned, there were statues. Saints, angels, and figures of Christ were evident everywhere. They were a wonderful and surprising addition to the Grotto. At times they towered over you. At other times they were hidden within alcoves. My husband, having been raise Catholic, had a much better idea than I who the statues represented, but they were magnificent all the same. Words and photos just don't do them justice. This is something you have to see for yourself.

Shrines and Alcoves

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Story/Tip

Grotto of the Redemption Photo, Iowa, United States
Quote:
As you wander through the Grotto you find many small alcoves and shrines. Each one is unique. Most have a statue or two in them, but the statues are not the most interesting part of the alcoves. Every inch of the alcoves are full of ores, minerals, fossils, corals, shells and other such items. Some are formed into shapes, others just placed in a pleasing manner in the cement. In some of the alcoves stained glass windows had been placed, which simply added to the beauty.