Chapelle Notre-Dame du Chêne
In the Illwald Forest, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Oak Tree bears witness to popular piety.
Tradition dates the construction of the chapel back to the 18th century, after a statuette of the Virgin was found in a boat by a fishing couple. Originally, it was a modest sanctuary; the statuette was simply placed in the trunk of an old oak tree. Until the end of the 19th century, there was no forest road in the Illwald leading to the chapel. The only way to get there was up the Schiffweg, an important branch of the Ill, hence the chapel's other name, the Schiffwegkapelle.
After the French Revolution, it was forcibly closed after the chapel of Our Lady of the Snows was ransacked and banned from worship.
In 1798, the town council decided to have the oak tree housing the statue of the Virgin cut down, which caused a stir among the inhabitants, and a niche was quickly dug in the trunk of a nearby oak tree to house the statue.
During the night of 17th and 18th June 1925, the chapel was completely destroyed by fire. It was quickly rebuilt on the old model but in reinforced concrete to prevent a new fire. Restored, it was inaugurated in 1927, as the date written above the doorway attests.
Source : www.selestat.fr