Bancker was once a thriving community nestled between four large plantations that comprised the main land holdings of the area. In fact, the entrance to Cade Plantation is located where Hwy 330 turns left in front of the Bancker Grotto and is still slightly visible. The grotto was built on the site where a Catholic Church once stood. To see that church today, you would have to travel to its present location in nearby Henry, where the population of Bancker shifted. The original grotto's statue of Mary now adorns the front of the Catholic Church in Erath. So, what is the purpose of establishing a grotto here? This cave-like structure, a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, pays homage to Mary in reference to the children who claimed to have seen her vision after World War II. As you may have guessed, the Catholic Church has played a generous role in shaping our culture. Both the church cemetery that dates to 1897 and the grotto have recently been refurbished and are open to the public. Sit under the oaks for a pleasant picnic and watch the fishermen off the banks of the Vermilion River or simply meditate in the quiet. The beautiful surroundings are a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers.

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