Mount Angel Attractions
While in town take some time to visit our special places. Mount Angel promotes its heritage year-round, and enjoys sharing with visitors:
St. Mary Church:
A beautiful Gothic jewel set in the Willamette Valley. St. Mary Church dates back to 1881 when the first church was built, and the town out grew the building in 3 years. The Parish used the Abbey’s church for several years before the construction of a 3rd church. June 12, 1910, the cornerstone for this 4th magnificent structure was laid.
The church was to be massive, built ornate in the Revival Gothic style with locally produced pressed cement bricks. With its soaring 200 foot bell tower dominating the town and it is seen throughout the surrounding country side for miles. Local parishioners did much of the construction under the direction of Architect, Engelbert Gier and his brother Emil. Both brothers were members of the parish, who had come originally from Texas. Our forefathers hoped to build a church of great beauty that would last for generations to come. As you can see, they truly succeeded.
On June 30, 1912, the finished church, with 26 large stained glass windows was blessed by Archbishop Alexander Christie. It was an historic day of liturgical and festive celebrations for the 280 parish families of Mt. Angel.
St. Mary Parish invites you to join in 5:30pm Mass on Saturday, 7:30am & 10:00am Mass in English on Sunday, and 12:00 – noon Mass in Spanish on Sunday.
Interested in more history: St. Mary Church
Elaine Annen Doll Museum
Elaine was born in 1932 in Mt. Angel, Oregon. She was the 6th child of 9 children. Elaine’s first doll was given to her in 1968. A woman she was helping to move into a care facility gave her the doll. That doll is still in her private collection and has a prized spot.
In 1982 when she retired from the bank, she joined a doll club and that was the beginning, the rest is history. The doll she wanted the most, was a large 34″ Heinrich Handwerk bisque doll with composition body. This had been purchased by her grandfather on a trip to Germany.
Throughout the years, many people have enjoyed her collection. The opportunity to create a museum presented itself with the building of the Mount Angel Community Festhalle. It was the right time and the right venue to house her dolls. Elaine, who was born, educated, worked and lived her entire life in Mount Angel loaned her dolls to be displayed for the people of Mount Angel.
The interesting little museum is open all four days of Oktoberfest from 11 am until 6 pm and throughout the year normal hours are from 11 am until 3 pm on the first and third Fridays and the second and fourth Saturdays every month. Families welcome; the children will love it. It is FREE!
Mount Angel’s Glockenspiel celebrates the German-Swiss-Bavarian heritage of the village and its famous Oktoberfest. The first figure represents the Native Americans who came to this place to communicate with the Great Spirit, followed by figures depicting the founders of both the civil and religious communities of Mount Angel and the frivolity and fun of the Oktoberfest.
The Glockenspiel plays at 11 a.m., 1, 4 and 7 p.m. daily. The clock is large and clearly visible; the bells are sharp and precise in their sound. However, the animated figures are the real traffic stoppers. Crowds gather on the appointed hours to watch the figures as they dance about and listen to the resonance of the bells.
The first floor of the tower above street level, displays six life-size hand-carved wooden figures crafted by local wood carvers.
T.W. Davenport, the original surveyor of the Mount Angel area noted that Indians traveling through the valley climbed the butte to pray to the Great Spirit. The Indians told him that coming to this mount to pray had been a tradition of their ancestors. They called the spot “Tapalamaho,” the Mount of Communion. Thus the first presentation is a noble Kalapuya Brave at prayer.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Zollner were the first German settlers to come to this part of the valley in 1867. They migrated from Rathenberg in the Kingdom of Bavaria.
With the coming of Mathias Butsch in the fall of 1878, the Catholic community of Mount Angel found their leader. He was instrumental in building the first church, a community store and the railroad station. Most importantly, he brought the Benedictine monks to Mount Angel. He is still widely known as the “Father of Mount Angel.”
Prior Adelhelm Odermatt came from Engelberg, Switzerland and established the Benedictine Monastery in 1881. He was Mount Angel’s first pastor. He suggested the name “Mount Angel” for the small community, the anglicized version of Engelberg, his Swiss home.
The Benedictine Sisters came to Mount Angel in 1882, from the Convent of Maria Rickenbach in Switzerland. Sister Bernadine Wachter was the first Prioress of the convent and new school, built in the shadow of Prayer Mountain.
The town flourished over the years, and in 1966 took on a Bavarian feeling when the first Oktoberfest was celebrated. The Papa Oom Pah figure is the official mascot. He is a jolly Bavarian with rosy cheeks, a flowing mustache, lederhosen, and a huge tuba. He represents all the fun and excitement of the Northwest’s best-loved folk festival and our Bavarian cultural heritage. Oktoberfest funded this figure.
The grand finale happens on the highest level of the tower. When the shutters open, we look to our future. A boy and a girl, dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes, play on a garden swing while singing the song Edelweiss.
Benedictine Sisters Monastery
The Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel have a long history of service to the Church and the people of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Queen of Angels Monastery was founded in 1882 by Mother Bernardine Wachter, OSB, who led a group of Sisters and postulants from Switzerland to Oregon. The Sisters initially settled in Gervais, staying for awhile in an abandoned saloon. In 1887 the community acquired land in Mt. Angel, the original building was completed in 1888.
In the early years, perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, meeting the need for and teaching Catholic schools became a primary ministries.
In partnership with the local community, the Sisters built and operated the Benedictine Nursing Center in 1957 to care for the elderly. Shalom Prayer Center, a retreat and spiritual renewal ministry operated by the Sisters, began in 1973, and continues to flourish today.The Sisters’ long-standing commitment to the poor became a formal program in 1988 when the community established St. Joseph Shelter, which serves homeless families and individuals. Mission Benedict serves those in need in the local area with food boxes, clothing, and other emergency assistance.
A 1993 earthquake centered just a few miles east of Mt. Angel caused extensive damage to the Monastery, a new, smaller Chapel and a hospitality center were built and were dedicated in 1998.
Changes in health care prompted the Sisters’ decision to transfer the Benedictine Nursing Center to the Providence Health System in 1998. Though the community no longer operates a school or nursing center, some Sisters are still active in education, while others serve as chaplains in health care facilities. A number of Sisters presently serve at Shalom Prayer Center and the Sisters’ hospitality and mustard ministries, as well as in the operation and administration of the Monastery. To learn more about the Queen of Angels Monastery and the Community’s Mission as well as their delicious Monastery Mustard , visit their The Queen of Angels web site. http://www.benedictine-srs.org/
Mount Angel Abbey and Bookstore
In 1882 a small group of Benedictine monks arrived in Oregon to found an abbey similar to the one they had left behind high in the Alpine village of Engelberg, Switzerland. Mount Angel Abbey has inherited Saint Benedict’s Rule of life, with its tradition of prayer and work. Founded from the Swiss Abbey of Engelberg in 1882, Mount Angel Abbey strives to be a place of peace and solitude in a very busy world. This community keeps alive the ancient tradition of the choral office, the love of learning and Christian hospitality. To find out more about Mount Angel Abbey or get mass times please visit their web site.
The Maibaum – “The Tree of Trades”
A Symbol of Community, the Maibaum (May Pole) is a decorated “Tree of Trades” displaying the symbols of businesses, services and skills practiced by the people who call Mount Angel home. The lowest two branches speak of the spiritual and intellectual foundations of our community, the parish church and village school. The top branch on the right is a golfer, though not a trade, golf is a skill practiced by many of Mount Angel’s retired citizens. The pole is painted in a blue and white spiral, the colors of Bavaria.
At the very top, our tree is crowned with the “Engelberg” Angel weather vane. The Benedictine monks who established Mount Angel Abbey came from Engelberg, Switzerland. Mount Angel is the anglicized translation of Engelberg.
May Poles are a common sight in villages across Bavaria. It is from this region of Southern Germany that many of the pioneer families immigrated to Mount Angel. Our world famous Oktoberfest is fashioned on the harvest festivals of Bavaria.
Wurstfest– a Celebration of German Sausage:
The Mt. Angel Chamber of Commerce presents the last blast of winter, Wurstfest! A celebration in honor of the Wurst! So dust off your Lederhosen, starch up your Bavarian Dirndl and join the happy folk of Mount Angel for a fun-filled weekend each year. Wurstfest always occurs on the Friday and Saturday before Ash Wednesday which is the start of the austere and holy season of Lent. This year’s dates are February 5th and 6th. Details at: http://www.mtangelwurstfest.org/
Hazelnut Fest and German Holiday Market
The Hazelnut Fest includes a holiday Kristkindlmarkt featuring regional arts and crafts, Oregon wineries and breweries and foods that feature Hazelnuts. Hazelnut Fest is held the first full weekend in December each year. The Hazelnut Fest brings in live entertainment and a visit from Sankt Nikolaus. Details at: http://www.hazelnutfest.com/
Take the time to wander around and see the sites Mount Angel has to offer, outside of Oktoberfest!