Friday, July 3, 2020

Worth a Trip: The Geode Grotto

In the small Southern Indiana town of Jasper resides an oddity well worth the trip – a Geode Grotto. Geodes are hollow mineral “rocks" found in limestone and shale  that is abundant in the region. The inside of the somewhat round rock is filled with inward-projecting crystals in a range of colors from deep purples, to lavenders to yellows to rich golds.

Geode Walls
At mid-century, Father Phillip Ottavi, an Italian immigrant, wanted to build something spiritual on the former grounds of the Providence House handball courts. He was seeking to construct something unique; a grotto similar to the one in Lourdes, France, but built from geodes.

Mother of God Shrine
Geode Fountain
The grotto was constructed over a ten year period from 1960-1970 using geodes from around the region including Heltonville. The stones were placed in limestone and plaster to form geode paths, a fountain, planters, and archways containing the Stations of the Cross. At one end is a shrine to St. Joseph, and at the other The Mother of God Shrine. Father Philip worked every day for ten years to complete the massive undertaking. The result is a grotto that covers four city blocks.

If you’re looking for awe-inspiring sites that offer a chance to get out and about, The Geode Grotto of Jasper is perfect. It is located at 13th and Bartley Streets behind St. John’s Cathedral. And be sure to take a camera, it’s worth the trip!
~ Joy


  1. I have seen this from the Street and it is a marvel to see. I hope to go back someday and walk around it taking photos, of course.

    1. It is amazing! And when you realize that these stones came from around the region ... who knew we had so many geodes?