Gilgal Sculpture Garden
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Tucked away in the center of a city block, Gilgal Sculpture Garden is a magical urban oasis and a unique work of art. The garden contains twelve original sculptural arrangements and over 70 stones engraved with scriptures, poems, and philosophical texts. The most famous of these is the Sphinx, with its unhewn stones arranged to suggest a crouching body and the finely carved face of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The visionary behind the garden was successful masonry contractor Thomas
Battersby Child. Child began building Gilgal Sculpture Garden in his backyard in 1945.
Each piece represents an idea that rang of truth to him in his life-long
Child went to incredible lengths to obtain huge stones weighing many tons for his sculptures. He had great respect for the natural beauty of his materials. He traveled the state, scouring mountainsides and stream beds for “a boulder in which I could put over the idea and tell the story and still have it a stone.” He proudly stated that only raw materials were brought into the yard and all finish work was done on the site.
After Child’s death in 1963, Gilgal Garden passed into the hands of new owners. Friends of Gilgal Garden (FOGG) was organized in 1997 to prevent development on the site and ensure its preservation. FOGG worked closely with the Trust for Public Land and Salt Lake City Corporation to purchase Gilgal Garden, which became a Salt Lake City park in 2000.
The public is invited to visit the garden seven days a week.
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