I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
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.
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
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.
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