Wegner Grotto

Cataract, Wisconsin

Highway 71 west of Highway 27, Cataract, WI

Paul and Matilda Wegner were German immigrants who settled in southwest Wisconsin in the 1880s. After many years of farming and running a car dealership, the Wegners retired to their summer home north of Sparta. In 1929 they made a visit to the Dickeyville Grotto, which was then attracting attention and nearly complete. That visit would change their lives, because it inspired them to build their own concrete grotto to attract visitors of their own.

Unlike church-sponsored grottoes, the grotto garden the Wegners made is not overtly religious. There is a small chapel, and a prayer garden, but there are also family monuments, animal sculptures and birdhouses that are simply playful concrete constructions without overt spiritual purpose. The Wegners seemed more concerned about creating a democratic and inspiring roadside attraction than the traditional meditative grotto of spiritual mystery. The space they created is a visual embodiment of their progressive political and religious ideals, from the Peace Monument to the American Legion plaque to the multi-denominational Glass Chapel.

The Wegner Grotto is located on State Highway 71 west of Cataract, WI.

Legend
  1. "Home" Gate
  2. Steamship Bremen
  3. Wedding Cake
  4. Font
  5. Prayer Garden
  6. Small Monuments
  7. Deer
  8. Crown of Righteousness and Cross
  9. Jacob's Well
  10. Pulpit
  11. American Legion Plaque
  12. Peace Monument
  13. Spring Room
  14. Urns
  15. Glass Church
  16. American Flag
  17. Gold Star Memorial

References and Links to the Wegner Grotto

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Copyright ©2012 Matt Bergstrom