Gilgal Sculpture Garden, Salt Lake City
Gilgal Garden is the Legacy of local masonry contractor Thomas Child. Child began work on Gilgal in 1945 in an effort to give physical form to his beliefs. The garden contains 13 sculptural arrangements and over 70 stones engraved with poems, scriptures, and philosophical texts. Each represents an idea of truth in Child's life-long spiritual quest. He shared Gilgal with thousands of visitors knowing many would find it strange but hoped people would be inspired and see it as a challenge to "ponder life's mysteries". Child's passion to express himself with Gilgal Garden took up most of his time and money until his death in 1963.
For over 30 years the Fetzer family opened Gilgal to visitors every Sunday. In 1997, however, the family could no longer pay for the maintenance of the garden and the Friends of Gilgal Garden was formed to save Gilgal from development. Being the only identified Visonary Art Environment in the state, Friends of Gilgal and Salt Lake City saw it necessary to save such a priceless piece of Salt Lake history. Since purchasing the garden in 2000, Friends of Gilgal Garden has accomplished an astounding number of restoration and conservation projects that have restored Child's vision. Some of these include: the removal of all graffiti, the installation of new fences and gates for better protection, new waterlines, sprinkler and electrical systems.
With Gilgal being such a unique environment, we should all be grateful to the Friends of Gilgal Garden for their efforts to preserve this piece of historic landscape architecture.