Grotto of the Redemption

Timeline created by bernsky
  • Paul Mathias Dobberstein born in Rosenfeld, Germany

    Paul Dobberstein was one of six children born to Frank Dobberstein & Julia Froehlich. Three of the Dobberstein children would enter into the religious life.
  • Period: to

    Grotto of the Redemption

  • Immigrated to U.S.

    Immigrated to U.S.
    Paul Dobberstein arrived in the U.S. at the age of 20 with little more than the clothes on his back. He soon found his way to Naperville, Illinois, where relatives provided food and shelter. Not long after arriving in Naperville, he saw an advertisement in a German newspaper from the Bishop of Dubuque who was looking for German speaking priests. Young Paul answered the ad and soon found himself in seminary studying for the priesthood.
  • Ordained a Priest

    Ordained a Priest
  • Arrives in West Bend

    Arrives in West Bend
    With the zeal and energy of a young and newly ordained priest, Fr. Dobberstein quickly assessed his new assignment and proclaimed that "All is to be done here, all take hold of the rope and pull ahead..."
  • Parochial School Completed

    Parochial School Completed
    1901 - Establishing a school was an early priority for Fr. Dobberstein. He realized that not having a school would handicap the parish’s ability to spread the faith to a new generation. "The school is the soul of the parish" said Fr. Dobberstein. "Parishes without a substantial parochial school need smaller churches as they grow older..."
  • Park laid out and pond excavated

    Park laid out and pond excavated
    1906 - Before a stone was laid for the future Grotto, Father Dobberstein decided to construct a lake and park. Digging out the lake was difficult and dangerous. In fact, the only death attributed to the construction of the Grotto grounds occurred when the handle of a scraper slipped and hit a man in head.
  • Work begins on Grotto

    Work begins on Grotto
    1912 - Fr. Dobberstein begins construction of the first grotto, laying the foundation for what would become a 42 year personal endeavor to tell God’s story of redemption through the mediums of rocks and minerals.
  • Construction of Memorial Fountain in Humboldt, Iowa

    Construction of Memorial Fountain in Humboldt, Iowa
    1918 - As word of Fr. Dobberstein’s talent spread he began to receive requests to construct various stone monuments, the first of which took him to Humboldt, Iowa. The Faye Hessian Memorial was commissioned by the father of a young girl who died of tuberculosis in 1912.
  • New Church Construction Begins

    New Church Construction Begins
    1920 - With the end of World War I the time seemed right to begin construction of a new church. In the summer of 1920 the men of the congregation gathered to dig the foundation with an army of horses and freznoes, while Fr. Dobberstein worked on the church footings.
  • New Church Dedicated

    New Church Dedicated
    Church is dedicated in August of 1922. One of the attendees observed that the "girls wore the frilly white dresses that summer day, like flower girls at a wedding".
  • Construction begins on Immaculate Conception Grotto in Carroll, Iowa

    Construction begins on Immaculate Conception Grotto in Carroll, Iowa
    1923-29 - Dedicated May 31, 1925, the Immaculate Conception Grotto at St. Angela's Academy in Carroll, Iowa was Father Dobberstein’s 2nd commissioned work. The Grotto was eventually dismantled in 1957. Sections from the Grotto were re-used in the construction of the museum on the Grotto grounds.
  • Construction begins on Grotto of the Holy Family in Milwaukee, WI

    Construction begins on Grotto of the Holy Family in Milwaukee, WI
    1925-30 Father Dobberstein’s 3rd commissioned work - Holy Family Grotto at. St. Joseph’s Ridge (Milwaukee), Wisconsin.
  • Construction begins on Crucifixion Grotto in Wesley, Iowa

    Construction begins on Crucifixion Grotto in Wesley, Iowa
    1925-26 - Father Dobberstein’s 4th commissioned work. the Crucifixion Grotto at Wesley, Iowa.
  • Memorial Fountain in front of Sts. Peter and Paul Church Constructed

    Memorial Fountain in front of Sts. Peter and Paul Church Constructed
    1927 - Memorial Fountain constructed at East entrance of Saints Peter and Paul church, honoring the fallen soldiers of World War I.
  • Christmas Chapel constructed

    Christmas Chapel constructed
    The Christmas Chapel in Sts. Peter & Paul Church is one of the most beautiful and elaborate grottos at West Bend. It took Fr. Dobberstein seven years to collect the precious gems for this grotto, the most valuable of which is the 300 pound uncut blue amethyst.
  • Construction begins on Holy Family Grotto in Dubuque, Iowa

    Construction begins on Holy Family Grotto in Dubuque, Iowa
    1928-29 - Officially dedicated July 14, 1931, Father Dobberstein's fifth commissioned work, the Holy Family Grotto at Mount St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa has a unique feature. Built into the side of the Grotto are two vacant niches that are meant to house the statues of Dubuque's future saints. The spots are still open for two holy people to fill...
  • Casino Restaurant completed

    Casino Restaurant completed
    1928 - Casino Restaurant constructed to serve the increasing number of hungry tourists.
  • Bernard Dobberstein paints Ascension Mural

    Bernard Dobberstein, brother to Fr. Paul Dobberstein, paints the Ascension Mural which can be found on the ceiling above the altar in Sts. Peter & Paul Church.
  • Construction begins on LaSalette Grotto in Sioux City, Iowa

    Father Dobberstein constructs LaSalette Grotto at Sacred Heart church in Sioux City.
  • Construction of Grotto to the Blessed Virgin Mary in LaCrosse, WI

    Construction of Grotto to the Blessed Virgin Mary in LaCrosse, WI
  • Father Dobberstein dies

    Father Dobberstein dies
  • Grotto of Nazareth completed

    Grotto of Nazareth completed
  • Grotto of Bethlehem completed

    Grotto of Bethlehem completed
  • Father Louis Greving assisgned Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church

    Father Louis Greving assisgned Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church
  • New school and convent completed

    New school and convent completed
  • Faceted stained glass windows installed

    Faceted stained glass windows installed
    Unique and beautiful, the faceted stain glass windows in Sts. Peter & Paul church are at least 5 times thicker than traditional stained glass. The thickness of the glass, combined with the facets (chips around the edges), produce what looks like a solid piece of glass.
  • Birdseye altar installed in church

    Birdseye altar installed in church
    Originally from St. Joseph's church in Carroll, Iowa, this 22 foot birdseye maple altar was installed at Saints Peter & Paul Church in 1972. Altar won first place under the creative furniture and wood-carving competition at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.
  • Grotto Museum construction completed

    Grotto Museum construction completed
    The Grotto Museum, like almost every other part of the Grotto complex, is adorned with a wide variety of rocks and minerals. The exterior walls consist of numerous 1 ton slabs. Affixed to the slabs are over 900 pounds of polished Brazillian agates.
  • Roman arch and capstones added to top of Trinity Grotto

    Roman arch and capstones added to top of Trinity Grotto
    Father Greving put the finishing touch on the original grotto by constructing a Roman arch, a project Fr. Dobberst always intended to do when he had the time.
  • Father Dobberstein statue erected

    Father Dobberstein statue erected
    Sculpture dedicated to the memory of Fr. Dobberstein. Sculpted by former West Bend resident Michael Montag.
  • Gospel Songfest Established

    Gospel Songfest Established
    Annual music event drawing hundreds to West Bend each year to enjoy professional gospel entertainers.
  • Statue of St. Peter added to Grotto of Gethsemane

    Statue of St. Peter added to Grotto of Gethsemane
  • Father Louis Greving dies

    Father Louis Greving dies
    Father Louis Greving served the church and the Grotto for nearly 56 years. Father Greving not only ministered to his parishioners, but he helped to construct, maintain, and promote the Grotto. We are indebted to his service.