Nestled on Bartley Street in Jasper Indiana, you'll find a mystical hidden gem that many locals don't even know about.
Known as the Providence Home Geode Grotto, this creation took over a decade to build and was inspired by the Grotto of Lourdes in France.
From 1960 to 1970, Father Phillip Ottavi, an Italian immigrant who was orphaned during his childhood, built this incredible geode on the grounds of Cathedral Health. He made it a part of his lifeswork to help the less fortunate.
When asked about the design as the grotto was being built, a construction worker replied, "there were no blueprints, only inspiration."
The grotto contains thousands of natural rocks collected from the nearby town of Heltonville. They are mixed with marble, limestone, and unusual objects. With the help of many, Phillip was able to piece together this stunning sanctuary.
The grotto spans 4 city blocks and is surrounded by a grassy field and stone paths, the grotto is a wonderful place to head to when you're craving peace and quiet.
Throughout the rock garden, you'll spot religious statues, rock-covered planters, large shrines, and plenty of ledges to sit and rest.
In 2016, Memorial Hospital purchased the site’s north end for the construction of a medical residency building. Volunteers quickly formed the nonprofit Friends of the Grotto group to preserve as many pieces of the grotto as possible. Over the course of 4 years, volunteers were able to relocate 32 geode planters and structures from the former site. In 2018, a stone mason was hired to re-create the statue of Joseph holding baby Jesus. In 2019 the remaining structures were relocated to where they stand today.
Although the Providence Home is no longer open, the grotto still stands. It is now located on the grounds of the Cathedral Healthcare Center, a nursing facility. To visit the grotto, head to Bartley Street between 9th and 13th streets. Its official address is 520 West 9th Street, Jasper, IN, 47546.
The grotto is open daily, all day long, even after the sun sets.