A Unique Shrine of Concrete and Rocks in Yarnell
Nobody can say for sure if any miracles have actually happened at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Yarnell, but the story behind its creation is almost a miracle itself. It was built by a dishwasher on a site unsuitable for any kind of construction, and under the supervision of a family that had to invent a new type of concrete to make it happen.
In the 1940s, the Wasson family decided to build a statue of St. Joseph on the boulder-strewn hills that surround Yarnell. They found Felix Lucero, an unemployed artist, working as a dishwasher in Tucson and asked him to create the sculpture. But first, they had to develop a slow-setting concrete because it had to be carried up the hillsides and across the huge rocks. Once the statue was finished, the family decided to expand the site to include five other works depicting the life of Jesus Christ. Now a rock-lined path leads visitors past the sculptures.
The shrine, located about a half-mile west of Highway 89 as it passes through Yarnell, is open daily during daylight hours. There’s no charge to visit but donations are accepted. For more information, visit St. Joseph Shrine.