it was fun at the Library then we went to the city & county Building then we went to the gilgal Garden in all it was fun.
The Gilgal Sculpture Garden is a small public city park, located at 749 East 500 South in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The park, which is filled with unusual symbolic statuary associated with Mormonism, notably to the Sphinx with Joseph Smith’s head, was a labor of love designed and created by LDS businessman Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. (1888-1963) in his spare time. The park contains 12 original sculptures and over 70 stones engraved with scriptures, poems and literary texts. Gilgal Sculpture Garden is the only designated “visionary art environment” in the state of Utah.
Thomas Child, a masonry contractor and Bishop of the 10th Salt Lake LDS ward, conceived of a symbolic sculpture garden that would be a retreat from the world and a tribute to his most cherished religious and personal beliefs. He began building the garden in the back yard of his family home in 1947, when he was 57 years old, and continued to pour his time and money into the work until his death in 1963. Child named the garden Gilgal after the Biblical location where Joshua ordered the Israelites to place twelve stones as a memorial. The name “Gilgal” is sometimes translated to mean “circle of standing stones,” an appropriate appellation for a sculpture garden. Gilgal is also the name of a city and a valley in The Book of Mormon, a sacred scripture in Mormonism.
Many of the sculptures and quotations found at Gilgal refer to LDS themes: the restoration of the Priesthood, the great Mormon migration west, and the many similarities Child saw between the ancient Israelites and his LDS forefathers.
Although Child was not a classically trained artist, he went to great lengths to obtain and shape the perfect stones for his beloved garden. He created a complete workshop in his yard for handling and cutting the stones, proudly stating that all the finish work for his statues was completed on the site. He also used some unconventional tools to cut the stones, including an oxyacetylene torch (usually used for welding). Besides help from his son-in-law Bryant Higgs, Child hired Maurice Edmunds Brooks to help with the Gilgal project.
The finished statues are likewise unconventional, even eccentric: a sacrificial altar, a shrine to Child’s beloved wife Bertha, even a sphinx with the face of Joseph Smith. Child, who shared the garden with thousands of visitors over his lifetime, knew that not everyone would appreciate his particular artistic vision. His primary concern, however, was that the garden would succeed in making people think: “You don’t have to agree with me,” he said. “You may think I am a nut, but I hope I have aroused your thinking and curiosity.”
Until 2000, the Garden was owned by the Henry P. Fetzer family. Fetzer was a neighbor who bought the property after Child’s death in 1963. Only open on Sundays, the garden was visited and often vandalized by late night trespassers. The family, tired of keeping up the garden considered making it the centerpiece of an apartment development. Later a plan was floated by a Canadian company to tear down the garden and put in condominiums.
Instead, a group of citizens called the Friends of Gilgal Garden, headed by Hortense Child Smith, the widow of Child’s son, purchased an option to buy the property provided they could raise funds by January 10, 2000. The group arranged a $400,000 commitment from Salt Lake County and $100,000 each from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, covering the lion’s share of the purchase price. However these commitments were conditioned on the garden becoming a city park, which Salt Lake City Council was reluctant to take because of a budget crunch. The property was eventually purchased for $679,000 and turned over to the city. On October 21, 2000, Gilgal Garden reopened as a city park. At a ceremony celebrating the occasion, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson called the Garden “an absolute jewel.”
After many years of neglect and damage by vandals, the garden has been restored greatly. The Friends of Gilgal Garden, who serve as the park’s curators, and a number of other nonprofit entities in the Salt Lake City area are in the process of raising funds to restore the damaged sculptures.
From 2001-2005 Utah Master Gardeners reduced the overgrowth of weeds on the property and made the grounds themselves pleasing. By 2005 restoration work had also begun on some of the sculptures.
The Salt Lake City and County Building, usually called the “City-County Building”, is the seat of government for Salt Lake City, Utah. The historic landmark formerly housed offices for Salt Lake County government as well, hence the name.
The building was originally constructed by free masons between 1891 and 1894 to house offices for the city and county of Salt Lake and replace the Salt Lake City Council Hall and Salt Lake County Courthouse, both erected in the 1860s.
Construction of the building was riddled with controversy. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the City and County Building was the symbol of non-Mormon citizens’ open defiance of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was designed to rival the Salt Lake Temple as the city’s architectural centerpiece. It is even thought that the building’s clock tower and statues were designed to mimic the temple’s spires and statue of the angel Moroni. Ironically, the building was originally the 1880s brainchild of the Church-backed “People’s Party.” When the non-Mormon “Liberal Party” was campaigning for city government, they deemed the proposed “joint building” an example of the Church’s extravagance and wastefulness. In a reversal of stance, the Liberals decided to go ahead with the building when they finally gained power in 1890. Construction began in February on State Street at about 100 South.
For nebulous reasons, construction was halted that November after only the foundation had been laid. The mostly non-Mormon city council questioned the buildings plans which had been completed during the People’s Party reign, and wavered on how to proceed. The Deseret News complained that the Liberals were wasting taxpayer money. Ultimately, the original plans and site for the building were scrapped and the whole project was moved to the building’s current location at Washington Square. The Deseret News claimed this move served the City Council, which owned property around the site and would profit from increased land values. Nonetheless construction on new plans began by late 1891. The cornerstone was laid July 25, 1892.
The architectural firm of Monheim, Bird, and Proudfoot designed the Richardsonian Romanesque (Olpin et al., 2005) building. Henry Monheim, a local architect since the 1870s, and George W. Bird and Willis T. Proudfoot of Wichita, Kansas established the firm in 1891 specifically to design the building. Their firm won a building design contest against fourteen other submissions. However, The Salt Lake Herald—another LDS-backed paper—claimed that the competition was a “pretentious fraud.” Monheim, a Prussian immigrant, died one year into construction. Bird and Proudfoot moved to Philadelphia and Chicago respectively by 1896, so the City-County Building was their firm’s only output.
The building was monstrously over budget. Estimated by the firm at $350,000, the winning contractor bid $377,978, but by the building’s dedication on December 28, 1894, it had cost nearly $900,000. Complicating matters was the Panic of 1893 which cut Salt Lake City and County revenues nearly in half. As a result of this, plans for large stained glass windows for the building were discarded.
Although now used exclusively by Salt Lake City government, the building originally served many functions. Salt Lake County offices called the structure home until the 1980s when the County elected to build a new complex at 21st South and State Street.
The building served as Utah’s Capitol from when statehood was granted in 1896 until the present Utah State Capitol was completed in 1915. The Salt Lake City and County building also housed Salt Lake’s first public library and contained courtrooms, including one that condemned organizer Joe Hill to death amid international attention in 1914.
From 1973 to 1989 the building was exhaustively renovated and repaired with an eye toward historical accuracy. This was done in concert with a seismic upgrade called base isolation that placed the weak sandstone structure on a foundation of steel and rubber to better protect it from earthquake damage.
The Salt Lake City and County Building’s central clock tower is topped with a statue of Columbia and rises 256 feet (78 m) from the ground. The building’s primary axis runs north-south, and large entrances mark each cardinal direction. On the south wing (over the Mayor’s office) is a bronze statue of the goddess Justice. Originally, the building had statues depicting Commerce, Liberty, Justice, and Columbia, but the others were removed following a 1934 earthquake. Columbia and the other missing statues were replaced on top of the building when it was renovated in 1989.
The building’s surface is elaborately carved from the gray Utah Kyune sandstone it’s made of. To the right of the entrance on the south side is the face of Father DeSmet, a Jesuit priest who preached to Native Americans and had contact with the Latter-day Saints before and after they traveled to Utah. To the left is Captain García López de Cárdenas who explored Southern Utah by 1540. Above the granite columns on the east and west sides of the building are carvings of pioneer women. Between the portal and balcony are portraits of Chief Joseph and Chief Wakara and Jim Bridger. Above the west entrance left-to-right are R. N. Baskin, mayor of Salt Lake City circa 1894, Jedediah M. Grant, Salt Lake’s first mayor, and Jacob B. Blair, federal judge. The north side features a depiction of the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition which entered Utah in 1776 and named many of the state’s physical features. Gargoyles, eagles, sea monsters, beehives, Masonic icons, suns, and other symbols dot the building’s rich exterior.
Walter Baird and Oswald Lendi carved most of the building’s features. Lendi, a French sculptor, whimsically carved his face between the words “City” and “Hall” above the north entrance.
The building has five floors and over one hundred rooms. Onyx lines the hall of each lavishly decorated floor. The third floor houses the mayor’s office in the south wing and the city council chambers in the north. The council meeting room features an 1865 life-sized portrait of Brigham Young. Portraits of the city’s past mayors up to and including Ross “Rocky” Anderson line the corridor between these offices. The third floor features an exhibit commemorating the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City.
Around the time of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, and for a limited time, an electric display depicting the Olympic rings was allowed to be displayed on four sides of the central tower of the City and County building. The Olympic display has since been removed from the building.