This chapel in Cold Spring, Minnesota, stands testimony to a miracle that happened in 1877. Crop failures due to Rocky Mountain Locust infestations occurred in 1873, 1874, 1875, and 1876.
Each year the hoppers ate everything in sight, laid their eggs, and ﬂew away to torment another place. When the eggs hatched, the hatchlings could not ﬂy for 5-7 weeks. During these weeks, they marched across the Midwest, searching for food. When mature, they laid their eggs and ﬂew away. The cycle repeated.
The grasshoppers settled like a huge teardrop across Central North America, from the prairies of Canada down to Dallas, TX. Flour mills closed, farmers starved and governments were desperate. The economy crumbled. Many folks packed up and left.
A Catholic priest in Cold Spring gathered his struggling ﬂock. He said that if they would build a chapel and hold an extra weekly service for 15 years, God would deliver them from the locusts. It seemed impossible– but they obeyed.
At the same time, Governor Pillsbury called for a day of prayer and fasting to ask God for deliverance from the Rocky Mountain Locusts.
In 1877 the grasshoppers ﬂew away without laying their eggs. Some credit divine intervention. Others think a late April snowstorm disrupted their cycle. For whatever reason, the grasshoppers left and have been extinct ever since. The Grasshopper Chapel in Cold Spring remains.
It’s a beautiful spot. You’d enjoy a road trip to see it for yourself.
Candace Simar is a writer and poet from Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, in the heart of Lake Country. As a life-long Minnesotan, the grandchild of immigrants, Candace nurtures a passion for Minnesota History. Website: candacesimar.com