On this day in Alabama history: Cullman’s Ave Maria Grotto was dedicated

On this day in Alabama history: Cullman’s Ave Maria Grotto was dedicated
Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman. Known as "Jerusalem in Miniature," this four-acre park (dedicated in 1934) was designed to provide a setting for 125 miniature reproductions of famous historic buildings and shrines. It is the work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey. (The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

May 17, 1934

The Ave Maria Grotto park in Cullman was officially dedicated. Sometimes called “Jerusalem in Miniature,” the park features a collection of miniature replicas of shrines, buildings and fantasy scenes on the grounds of the Saint Bernard Abbey, Alabama’s only Benedictine monastery. Brother Joseph Zoettel, a monk at the abbey, created the replicas using marble, cement, wood and everyday items. The park includes 125 miniatures constructed by Zoettel, including the Ave Maria Grotto, from which the park received its name, which is 27 feet high by 27 feet wide by 27 feet deep. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and attracts about 20,000 visitors each year.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

 

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