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So Minnesota: History of Cold Spring's Grasshopper Chapel

Updated: August 16, 2019 08:58 PM

There are many houses of worship across Minnesota. However, only one has a long history and close connection to an insect: Grasshopper Chapel in Cold Spring.

The history dates back to the early 1870s when Rocky Mountain grasshoppers descended on Minnesota, destroying crops across the state.

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"It was devastating here, people were not having food to eat with," said Kristi Warne, with Grasshopper Chapel. "They were having to go ask the state for food."

In 1877, Minnesota Governor John Pillsbury declared a statewide day of prayer to get rid of the grasshoppers.

After it didn't work, Stearns County priest Father Leo Winter felt people should petition the Virgin Mary to help God give relief from the grasshoppers, so construction started on a chapel in Mary's honor.

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Within days, most of the grasshoppers flew away and by the time the chapel was completed a few months later, not one Rocky Mountain grasshopper could be found across the state.

"They say some miracles started happening," Warne said. "It's in all different county historical books. The New York Times actually wrote about it."

A tornado knocked down the chapel two decades later. The twister destroyed everything except for the statue of the Virgin Mary, which now sits in a rebuilt chapel constructed nearly seven decades ago.

If you would like to visit Grasshopper Chapel,  it's located on Chapel Hill Road just off Highway 23 in Cold Spring.

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Credits

Joe Mazan

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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