The Temple of Tolerance – Wapakoneta, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

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The Temple of Tolerance

Wapakoneta, Ohio

A gregarious Ohio resident has been building his whimsical temple to peace for decades. 


Jim Bowsher has been building his Temple of Tolerance for decades. He started in his own backyard and, eventually, bought several lots behind that. The Temple is still surrounded by the neighborhood in which he lives.  

Walking through his “backyard” is like going through a maze of found art creations, sitting areas, and transplanted themed buildings, with all paths eventually winding their way to the Temple itself. Bowsher built his amazing Temple out of mainly stones, but has peppered it with a pot-pourri of objects. The Temple is dedicated to peace and bringing people together in meaningful ways. At times it’s whimsical and playful, but it’s always fascinating.  

If the very gregarious Bowsher is at home, he’s more than likely to be in his creation and willing to discuss it. Neighborhood children are also often present playing and letting their imaginations go wild. It’s like no playground they’re likely to ever encounter. Like many “outsider art” projects, this one will probably never be truly completed, as Bowsher is constantly coming up with new ways to express his expanding vision. 

Know Before You Go

Best to arrive by car or bike, parking is on the street and you can walk right up to the house and go into the backyard where the temple is located.

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September 25, 2017

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