Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010

Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend, Iowa

You don't have to be religious to appreciate the Grotto of the Redemption, built by West Bend, Iowa, pastor Father Paul Dobberstein after his fight with pneumonia. The grotto was built as a shrine to the Virgin Mary to thank her for healing him. And what a shrine it is. The entire structure is built from agates, geodes and semiprecious stones, and it makes up the world's largest collection of minerals and petrified material, with a geological value of $4 million. It's a football field in length, and took 50 years to build. Thirty thousand pilgrims make their way to West Bend each year to see the structure.