The Grasshopper Chapel in Cold Spring, MN


The Grasshopper Chapel in Cold Spring, MNOne of the most dramatic aspects of the Rocky Mountain Locust Plagues of the 1870s was Governor Pillsbury’s call for a day of prayer on April 26, 1877. Minnesota was in a bad way. Flour mills had closed because there was no wheat. Railroads lost traction because of the slippery grasshoppers on the tracks. Farmers were desperate after five years of crop failures. People were moving away. The locusts lived on the prairies, and so the people moved to the woodlands or Minnesota–or moved away altogether. At the same time a Catholic priest urged his suffering congregation to build a chapel. (You can visit the Grasshopper Chapel in Cold Spring, MN). Another priest wrote a prayer that can be seen on the wall at Fort Sisseton in Sisseton, South Dakota. Some believe that God answered their prayers. Others are skeptical. Whatever the reason, the grasshoppers flew away without laying their eggs in 1877. A layer of dead hoppers were found on much of Lake Superior with red dots under their wings. A woman witnessed a swarm of locusts flying over her Boston home and out over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Rocky Mountain Locust has been extinct ever since. Smithsonian Magazine named the Rocky Mountain Locusts and the Passenger Pigeons as the two largest groups of animals in the history of the world. Both were in Minnesota, and both are now extinct. A specimen of the Rocky Mountain locust can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute.


One Response

  1. Wow! What a story! Prayer was effective to rid this region of that grasshopper locust. Thanks be to Our Heavenly Father.

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