One sight not to miss during a visit to Cold Spring is Chapel Hill. Each year, thousands of people revel in the tranquility, beauty and mystic that surrounds the grounds. Overlooking the city, the chapel is nestled among the towering trees.
The history of Assumption Chapel is legendary. It is the story of townspeople gathering together in efforts to rid the area of grasshoppers which were destroying farmers valuable crops. The invasion happened within the course of 24 hours. One day the grain crops promised a bountiful harvest. By the next afternoon, they were blanketed by millions of Rocky Mountain grasshoppers. Farmers made every effort to stop the swarming insects but to no avail. The crops were destroyed, and, even worse, the grasshoppers honeycombed the countryside with eggs that would hatch next spring.
Minnesota’s governor proclaimed April 26, 1877, a day of prayer and throughout the next few months the people of the Cold Spring area continued to pray. They vowed that if the Blessed Virgin would rid them of the grasshoppers, they would build a chapel and offer prayers to her for the next fifteen years. Construction of the chapel was the idea of Rev. Leo Winter, O.S.B., during the summer of 1876-1877. The next day, the grasshoppers were gone. The people kept their promise and built the chapel on a hill halfway between the parish in Jacobs Prairie and the mission in St. Nicholas.
However, the first structure of Assumption Chapel was made of wood and a tornado in 1894 destroyed the chapel. Not until 1951 was the chapel reconstructed with the help of Father Victor Ronellenfitsch, O.S.B., and community members. Granite was donated for the structure in addition to other supplies and Grasshopper Chapel remains in existence today.
Assumption Chapel is located in Cold Spring off of State Highway 23 and Chapel Hill Road.