The Sermon In Stone
Fairmount, North Dakota
We saw a picture of this on an old post card, which called it "The Sermon in Stone," and decided to visit.
It turns out that the "Sermon" is a pile of petrified wood, glass, scrap tile, ax heads, and brown North Dakota rocks -- pulled out of a gravel pit in nearby Hankinson -- cemented together into an obelisk about ten feet tall that stands next to St. Anthony's Church. Various religious symbols, in tile, are cemented into it as well, including the two Ten Commandments tablets on the back and a sacred heart on the side. "In honor of Christ the savior of mankind. The rock of ages." reads the inscription on a slab also cemented into it. It was built in 1932 by someone named C.J. Krump, and designed by a Father Bierens.
A shorter pile, more a column than an obelisk, topped with a fat North Dakota "dumbbell" rock surrounded by marbles, stands several yards in front. This one was built in 1934. A dozen shorter piles used to be here as well -- one for each of the twelve apostles -- but a subsequent priest didn't like them and tore them down. He wanted to tear down Father Bierens' other two piles as well, but the St. Anthony's parishioners stopped him.
Nowhere in Fairmount is this thing referred to as "The Sermon in Stone" any more. "The what?" answered someone when we asked directions to it. "Oh, you mean that rock thing over at St. Anthony's."