Tuesday, September 15

The Dickeyville Grotto

Here's a souvenir postcard gotten from the Holy Ghost Church in Dickeyville, Wisconsin. Sounds innocuous, right?

My wife and I were driving back from our road trip from Iowa when I noticed a series of large plaster/mosaic structures on my left. Thinking it was a Mexican Dia de los Muertos exhibit, or something related, I pulled over immediately and we went to check it out.
"The Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines erected in the Village of Dickeyville, Wisconsin on Holy Ghost Parish grounds are the works of Father Matthias Wernerus, a Catholic Priest, Pastor of the Parish from 1918 to 1931. His handiwork in stone, built from 1925-1930, is dedicated to the unity of two great American ideals-love of God and love of Country."
Wow. It's insane to walk through, and the back story is almost as colorful. I'd never heard of it before and found it entirely by accident. Rebecca had a dim view of this particularly fanatical display of religio-nationalism, whereas I found it an interesting psychological study.

In the gift shop I found this postcard (pictured) and what's interesting is that they don't seem to be recreations. They may be, the paper is fresh and not yellowed on the edges, but if they are recreations it's interesting the printer chose to retain the "place one cent stamp here" instructions. But what a find that would be, to discover a cache of original, yet-unsold souvenir postcards from four decades ago! I grabbed ten of them: even if they're reprints, they're still very attractive cards of the bygone era. Look at those cars!

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