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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Cataract in Monroe County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto

Circa 1929-1936

 
 
The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 22, 2017
1. The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto Marker
Wegner Grotto Site Guide and Key
Inscription. The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto is a fantastic environment of concrete sculpture decorated with thousands of colorful glass shards. The Wegners began building their Grotto around their farm home after their retirement in 1929. Developed over several years, the sculpture environment slowly grew to include a fanciful American flag, a giant reproduction of the Wegners' fiftieth anniversary cake, and a concrete facsimile of the Bremen, a celebrated ocean liner of the 1930s. Other constructions were religious in nature. The magnificent Prayer Garden, Glass Church, and Peace Monument once served as places for quiet reflection, public preaching, and community gatherings.

Neither Paul nor Matilda Wegner received any formal training in art. The Wegner Grotto and other creations by self-taught artists from throughout the state are an important part of Wisconsin's cultural heritage. The Wegners' extraordinary vision promises to inspire the imagination of many generations to come.

The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto, known locally as The Glass Church, was owned by the Wegner family until purchased by Kohler Foundation, Inc. in 1986 as part of its commitment to the documentation and preservation of significant outsider art environments and folk architecture. Restoration, funded by the Foundation, included extensive structural
The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 22, 2017
2. The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto and Marker
[The marker is beyond the fence.]
stabilization and surface repair of the sculptures as well as landscape clearing to re-establish the environment. The site was gifted to Monroe County in September 1987.

Additional information is available from the Monroe County Local History Room, Community Services Building, County Trunk B, Sparta, Wisconsin 54656.
 
Location. 44° 3.656′ N, 90° 52.055′ W. Marker is near Cataract, Wisconsin, in Monroe County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of State Highway 71 and Daylight Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. The marker is at Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto County Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7788 Daylight Road, Cataract WI 54620, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cataract (approx. 2 miles away); Civil War Cannon (approx. 8.2 miles away); Shamrock (approx. 8.2 miles away); Wisconsin Child Center Cemetery (approx. 8 miles away); Masonic Lodge (approx. 8 miles away); Sparta Free Library (approx. 8 miles away); Monroe County Courthouse (approx. 8 miles away); U.S. Post Office (approx. 8 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Monroe County Local History. The Paul & Matilda Wegner Grotto. (Submitted on June 8, 2018, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.)
American Flag image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 22, 2017
3. American Flag
The Wegners created this American Flag sculpture to pay tribute to the freedom they enjoyed as American citizens. Paul and Matilda emigrated from Germany in 1885.
 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicMan-Made Features
 
Anniversary Cake image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 22, 2017
4. Anniversary Cake
Paul and Matilda's Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1934 was the inspiration for this monumental cake model.
S.S. Bremen Ocean Liner image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 22, 2017
5. S.S. Bremen Ocean Liner
The Wegners, inspired by a picture postcard, spent two weeks constructing this model of the famed German ship. Paul Wegner states that the sculpture also has a spiritual meaning: "Take Christ in your boat through life." Note inscription on the ship's deck.
Prayer Garden image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 22, 2017
6. Prayer Garden
Glass Church image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 22, 2017
7. Glass Church
"One God – One Brotherhood." The Wegners built the Glass Church to represent all mainline denominations. Over 70 weddings and one funeral (Paul Wegner's) were performed here. Hundreds visited the little chapel daily on summer Sundays during the 1930s.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 8, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 8, 2018, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on June 8, 2018, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
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