Lyons, IA: Our Lady of Angels Seminary

This beautiful photo, likely a postcard, was posted on the Old Clinton Pictures Facebook page. The image shows that water ran down the grotto face near Bernadette at left into pool at the base, in which water plants were grown. A truly lovely Lourdes grotto.

In 1872, the Sisters of Charity order in Clinton, Iowa bought Lyons Female College (a Presbyterian college and the first institute of higher education established in the state of Iowa in 1858), and renamed it Our Lady of Angels Academy. It was located at 407 22nd Avenue North in Clinton, according to Grinnell College Digital Libraries.

The Academy Sisters had a Lourdes grotto built on their grounds, probably between 1910 and 1915. It was constructed by Chicago landscape architect and grotto builder Edward J. Koenig, and was one of the grottos pictured in the pamphlet he published around 1916 (held by the Missouri Historical Society library):

The photo of the grotto at Our Lady of Angels, from Edward J. Koenig’s c.1916 pamphlet. The caption specified the approximate dimensions of the grotto. (Missouri Historical Society Library)

The Lourdes grotto was the site of many May crowning events of the Virgin Mary statue, according to newspaper articles, and likely stood until the 1960s. The academy closed in 1966 and the buildings were razed in the 1980s

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