Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gilgal Gardens

Sometimes I think I have seen every possible tourist attraction from my hometown already.  That is too bad because I love sightseeing, even when I am close to home.  This summer, I discovered a site quite near my home that I had never heard of before: Gilgal Gardens.  This public park used to be the backyard of Thomas Battersby Child, Jr, a Mormon folk artist who liked to carve religious sculptures and engrave his favorite hymns and scriptures into stone. 

I found it when looking up date ideas on a city event calendar.  I linked through to the Gilgal Gardens website, which begged donors to fix up the property.  Apparently, the website operators found the funds. When we went there, we found a beautifully landscaped park. 

Gilgal Gardens is located across the street from Trolley Square. You have to look for the sign on the fence; the sculpture garden is not visible from the street. 

Shortly after my husband and I visited Gilgal Gardens for the first time, I happened across this discussion of the site at a Mormon blog, where many people were carrying on about how weird and fanatical it is to express your religiosity through sculpture, especially such strange sculptures as a sphinx with Mormon church founder Joseph Smith's face (one of the most dominant sculptures in the garden).  I thought that was kind of funny--because blogging could also be considered a weird and fanatical way to express religiosity.  I loved exploring the unique ways this artist viewed and expressed his religion.  The quirkiness just makes the garden more interesting.

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