Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of Gilgal Garden becoming a Salt Lake City public park. Of course the art that became a park is much older than that. Salt Lake’s answer to Simon Rodia’s Watt’s Tower or the Palais Ideal of Facteur Cheval, Gilgal was the creation of Thomas Child, a Mormon bishop and professional mason who began filling his backyard with rocks engraved with scripture and poetry and unique sculptures made from local stone in 1945. He completed his idiosyncratic vision in 1963 and for many decades the half-acre lot remained private property, a local hot-spot for teenagers looking to jump a fence and catch a glimpse of the urban myth.
One of those teenagers was Jennifer Napier-Pearce, who today on KUER did a radio segment on “the evolution of Utah’s secret garden.”
Back in 2005, near the five-year anniversary of the garden, we did a photo essay and short feature on Gilgal Garden. See it here.