Thursday, September 3

Holy Hill National Basilica

Holy Hill Basilica, National Shrine of Mary
Erin Wisconsin

Tradition says that the hill was first discovered in 1673 by Father Marquette with Joliet. However, modern historians view this tradition as untrue, though Jesuits were likely the first Catholic Priests to discover the hill.

The United States government owned the land until 1855, and the hill was known as "Government Hill" for surveying work was done there. Forty acres were purchased by Fr. Paulhuber, from Salzburg, Austria.

The shrine is located atop a high kame in 400 acres (1.6 km2) of woods. Visitors can climb a 178-step observation tower to view the Milwaukee skyline 30 miles (48 km) away. At approximately 1,350 feet (410 m) above sea level, it is one of the highest points in southeastern Wisconsin. It is located near Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail.

The first resident on the hill was a hermit named Francois Soubrio. Around 1862, an area farmer found him living on the hill. Soubrio had heard about the hill when he was working as an assistant to a retired professor in Quebec, Canada. He had found an old French diary and map dated 1676 showing a cone-shaped mountain in Wisconsin. The diary described how the author placed a stone altar, raised a cross, and dedicated the hill to Jesus's mother Mary. The diary account corresponds with Jesuit missionary work in the area between 1673 and 1679

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