My wife and I are on a mission to visit all the oversized local landmarks throughout Minnesota. This blog chronicles those visits and covers other related topics.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our Lady Of The Hills

June 29th, 2008 - Urbank, MN

Our Lady Of The Hills

While we were in Vining, we saw this sign with all of the roadside sculptures on the Otter Tail Scenic Byway. We were looking at the sign and basically going, "Got it. Got it. Going to get it. Got it. What?" We had never heard of Our Lady Of The Hills. We were very excited, naturally. Then we had to figure out if we should get it now or some other time. The plan had been to go from Vining north to Ottertail. Our Lady was, what we figured, about 12 miles south and was possible to get on a slight side trip off of I-94 someday. We ultimately decided to just go and see it now and wound up back tracking a bit later to get to Ottertail.

Otter Tail Scenic Byway Roadside Sculptures

Our Lady Of The Hills stands 22 feet tall. The plaque on the base reads:



I don't know exactly what that means. Did somebody promise a giant statue to someone if they healed somebody's cancer? Seems a bit odd.

Our Lady Of The Hills

Our Lady Of The Hills is located (out in the middle of nowhere) about a mile from Inspiration Peak, the highest point of the Leaf Mountains and the Alexandria Moraine. Minnesota native Sinclair Lewis once said of Inspiration Peak, "there's to be seen a glorious 20-mile circle of some 50 lakes scattered among fields and pastures, like sequins fallen on an old paisley shawl."

We pulled up to the trail head for Inspiration Peak, but we were unsure what the hike was like and were not prepared for much of a hike at all, so we passed on it.

Tip: I don't recommend trying to visit Our Lady Of The Hills in the winter. It's located on a gravel road in the middle of the country, the entire area is hilly, the roads are curvy, the winter weather there can get real nasty, and I don't know if Lady Of The Hills Road gets plowed much. Unless, of course, you are travelling by snowmobile, then I think I do recommend it.

Lady of the Hills Road
Lady Of The Hills Road taken from below the statue, facing east.


Anonymous said...

Worth the trip! Has a place to sign in, kneel and say a prayer if desired. It is spectacular, even more so because it is truly in the middle of nowhere!

Anonymous said...

I believe it was William Danelke who was healed from cancer and had promised to dedicate a statue if he survived his ordeal...

Josh said...

Thanks for the clarification!

Anonymous said...

You really should not have passed up Inspiration Peak!!! said...

this statue was built by my great uncle for a promise he made when he was just 18 for a cure to cancer. many years later he kept that promise and today people from all over the world come to see Our Lady of the Hills. Bill grew up in this area and his homeplace with wife Viola was just the road on hte lake. I last saw my uncle Bill couple years before he died, Im sad to report at that time he had emphysema and was on oxygen but never prouder to say the cancer never came back.

Anonymous said...

Grew up in the Vining, Urbank area. Beautiful place. You really need to do Inspiration Peak, but do it in the Fall when the leaves are changing color

Anonymous said...

A very nice area.. spiritual..even for a lutheran..


dave alvstad said...

Your great uncle had the great idea for the statue but it was my father Lyle Alvstad from Ashby,MN and his friend Allen Bakke from Elbow Lake,MN that built it. My dad and Allen had made a few other things to include the Coot that sits along the highway in Ashby,MN. William Danelke brought the idea of the statue to Lyle and Allen. The end result is a piece of Craftsmanship that sits along a country road that the public can enjoy.