Dobberstein was born in Rosenfeld, Germany to Francis "Frank" Dobberstein and Julia Froehlich.
He is known for designing and building a series of religious grottoes:
- Sacred Heart Church: Sioux City, Iowa
- Immaculate Conception Grotto: Carroll, Iowa (now gone)
- Franciscan Convent: Dubuque, Iowa
- Shrine in the St. Rose of Viterbo Convent of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration: La Crosse, Wisconsin (now gone)
- Catholic Cemetery: Wesley, Iowa
- John Brown Park: Humboldt, Iowa
His most famous work, however, is The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption, in West Bend, Iowa, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City. This is actually a series of several connected grottoes. At the neighboring church of Saints Peter and Paul, he also created a fountain and, inside, a majestic nativity scene.
Father Dobberstein's works inspired Mathias Wernerus (who also attended St. Francis Seminary) to build the Dickeyville Grotto in Dickeyville, Wisconsin in 1930, thus starting the grotto building movement in America.
In addition to his prolific works of art and stone, he led a busy life as the pastor of Saints Peter and Paul there in West Bend for more than 57 years. His signature appears on over a thousand baptism records from his time in the parish.
- An Explanation of the Grotto of the Redemption
- Grotto of the Redemption, rff.org Archived November 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend, Iowa, roadsideamerica.com
- West Bend - Sts. Peter and Paul Archived 2008-10-14 at the Wayback Machine., catholicglobe.org
- History of Providence Home Health Care Center of Jasper, providencehome.org
- Grotto of the Redemption, agilitynut.com
- Grotto of the Redemption Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine., ww2.lafayette.edu/~niless