Near the entrance of Gilgal Garden
Gilgal Garden is the result of the vision and work of one man, Thomas B. Child, Jr. Although he was not a trained artist, he was a stonemason, and this little garden is his own private art project. Now a city park, Gilgal is open to the public, and is a peaceful little place near Trolley Square in Salt Lake City.
A wider view of Gilgal Garden
A community group saved this garden after Child's death, and now it is protected from threatened demolition and development. I had no idea what to expect when I visited, but found an intriguing glimpse into someone else's artistic vision.
Photo of garden construction
Along the back wall are some pictures of Child and the construction of the garden. When you consider the size and placement of all the rocks, and the sculptures themselves, this was an enormous undertaking.
Sculpture representing Daniel 2 from the Bible
Many of the stones include carvings of hymns and scripture references. This hill of scattered parts has a sign indicating it represents Daniel's vision from the Bible. If you take the time to read all of the references, you will need to allow at least an hour at the garden.
View facing southwest in Gilgal Garden
There is such an eclectic variety of things in this place: the archway, a pile of books, an angel Moroni on a spire, and more. I found myself wondering if Thomas Child had an overall vision when he began, or if he just started building, and then added random things as he went along.
Sculptures in Gilgal Garden
Child made this sculpture of himself
I am not sure what the head means in this piece. Note the grasshopper in the front.
View of Gilgal facing east.
This figure, minus a carved head, is near the entrance of the garden.
The famous sphinx sculpture
Descriptions and photos of Gilgal almost always include this famous sphinx, carved with the face of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prophet Joseph Smith.
Flowers in bloom at Gilgal
Sections of this garden are planted with flowers that were blooming beautifully on the day I went. It is not only a place of art, but, ultimately, a nice little garden tucked back off the busy streets. This would definitely be a nice respite during a lunch hour, or a fun stop before dinner at Trolley Square.
Flowers at Gilgal
If you go, Gilgal Garden is open to the public from 8am to 8pm from April through September. During October through March, it is open 9am to 5pm. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. There is a limited amount of free parking on the street in front of the garden entrance. The garden is located at 749 East 500 South in Salt Lake City.