Landmarks : St. Peter's Grotto in Farmer; Hanson County, South Dakota

Posted by Michael Zimny on

St. Peter’s Grotto in Farmer, South Dakota is a devotional reminder of the town’s peak development in the 1920’s, and of the German Catholics who emigrated to Hanson County, beginning in the late 19th century, from the rural Eifel region of then-Prussia. The structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

stpetersgrotto15.JPG

The grotto was designed and constructed by parish priest Father Scheier between the years 1926 and 1933. The unique-to-the-region, Byzantine-style design incorporates a wide range of building and decorative materials, including rock carved from the Badlands and Black Hills, petrified wood from North Dakota, marble from Tennessee, seashells from Hawaii and a single stone from the Catacombs of Callixtus in Rome.

Farmer once had a thriving agriculture-based economy. According to documents filed by the South Dakota State Historical Preservation Office, “in 1926, the town boasted of four elevators, two banks, three grocery stores and a hotel, along with other support businesses.”

stpetersgrotto11.JPG

The town was hard hit by the Great Depression and has never yet re-developed to the level of 1926. The grotto suffered a lack of maintenance after the parish grade school closed its doors in 1959, leading to the headline “The Grotto: Paradise on the Prairie Loses Luster Over the Years,” in a 1986 Argus Leader feature.

stpetersgrotto19.JPG

When the South Dakota State Historical Society won recognition for it on the National Register, the funding was provided to restore the grotto to its former state of serene beauty, and so it stands as a kind of meditative focal point in the quiet heart of Farmer.

Related

Landmarks: The Citizens State Bank of Henry

Landmarks: Ken Bell's Conversation Pieces on US HWY 212

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

In The Moment ... Law School Debate: Vermillion Or Sioux Falls?

In The Moment ... August 8, 2017 Show 151 Hour 1 Where should we put the state's only law school? Declining...

In The Moment ... Moment In Sound With Lil’ Red And The Medicated Moose Band

In The Moment ... August 4, 2017 Show 149 Hour 1 The 2017 Folk Off winner for the Sioux River Folk Fest is Lil’ Red...

In The Moment ... Remembering The Cold War In South Dakota

In The Moment ... June 19, 2017 Show 117 Hour 2 We look back now at the Cold War, when notions of a nuclear attack...

In The Moment ... Warrior Culture And 200 Years Of Fort Pierre

In The Moment ... June 13, 2017 Show 113 Hour 2 The current issue of “South Dakota Magazine” highlights South Dakota'...

Books

In The Moment ... South Dakota Festival Of Books

In The Moment ... August 14, 2017 Show 155 Hour 2 Get ready to head for the Hills. In the Moment is in Deadwood for...

In The Moment ... Lifting The Alzheimer’s Stigma

In The Moment ... August 10, 2017 Show 153 Hour 1 The death of musician Glen Campbell this week has many South...

In The Moment ... A Conversation With Garrison Keillor

In the Moment ... August 8, 2017 Show 151 Hour 2 Garrison Keillor brings the Prairie Home Love and Comedy Tour to...

In The Moment ... A Fresh Look At The Atomic Age

In The Moment ... August 2, 2017 Show 147 Hour 1 As international experts predict North Korea could develop a...

Music

In The Moment ... Dana Dykhouse And Technical Education In South Dakota

In The Moment ... August 21, 2017 Show 160 Hour 1 The South Dakota Board of Technical Education was formed July 1st...

In The Moment ... What Makes A Successful Presidency?

In The Moment ... August 16, 2017 Show 157 Hour 1 What makes a successful presidency? How soon should we judge the...

In The Moment ... Literacy And Hip-Hop

In The Moment ... August 9, 2017 Show 152 Hour 1 What's the role of music in literacy? What's the role of hip hop in...

In The Moment ... Moment In Sound With Lil’ Red And The Medicated Moose Band

In The Moment ... August 4, 2017 Show 149 Hour 1 The 2017 Folk Off winner for the Sioux River Folk Fest is Lil’ Red...

Theater

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...

In The Moment ... Remembering Vietnam On Horseback

In The Moment ... May 9, 2017 Show 089 Hour 2 Colt Romberger’s father served in Vietnam, and it changed his life...

Dakota Midday: S.F. Washington's "Wizard Of Oz"

South Dakota high schools produce a variety of plays each year. This week the Washington High School drama...

Dakota Midday: Lisa McNulty On Female Artists

The Off-Broadway Women's Project Theater is the oldest and largest theater company that promotes women artists in...