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Monday, April 7, 2008

Holy Land USA Cross Comes Down


What Connecticut resident isn't familiar with the Pine Hill cross? Certainly no one who spends any time driving on I-84 in Waterbury. The 50 foot Holy Land USA cross in Waterbury is going to be taken down on Tuesday April 8th to make way for a replacement. Holy Land USA was built in the 1950's upon Pine Hill by a Roman Catholic lawyer named John Baptist Greco. Greco wanted to create his own version of the Holy Land in miniature. Holy Land grew out of 18 acres on Pine Hill and was created and built with assorted easy to find materials. By the 1960's and 1970's there were 50,000 visitors a year to the site. What it's probably best known for though is the 50 foot cross that can be seen for miles and for years lit up the night for all to see. During Lent it would be lit in purple and at Christmas the cross was a brilliant red beacon on a hill top. I remember several night time drives to Waterbury just to see the cross lit up. As a child I visited Holy Land USA, though I don't have many memories of it and wish I had some photo's. Living in CT all my life, that 50ft cross and Holy Land have always been part of Connecticut's unique culture for me. When I heard the cross was coming down I was saddened. I know it's being replaced and the hill top won't be barren for long, but I will miss the original and all the times I stared up at that cross as a child and an adult. It's too bad Holy Land has fallen into such disrepair and closed it's gates decades ago. I would have liked to have been able to take my children there to witness one Catholics vision and dream made a reality. Perhaps one day the site will be fixed up and open it's gates once more to welcome people.

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