With a population of under 400, Windthorst is a small town, but with an interesting history. Originally settled in 1891 by German Catholics, a Catholic church, St. Mary's was eventually built on a hill overlooking the town and a general store (established 1921). But it is the grotto that is of most interest to passers by. Sixty-four men from Windthorst fought during World War II and prayed to Our Lady of Perpetual Help for safe return. Each sent money home to be used to build a shrine. Although four of the men were wounded, all sixty-four returned home and in 1949 work began on St. Mary's Grotto (Our Lady of Highway 281).
Built of native stone and granite from the Wichita Mountains and with a statue imported from Italy, the Grotto is impressive.
While we were there we were fortunate to meet two local ladies who showed us around the church and explained the story of the grotto.