Gilgal Stories

I grew up in the neighborhood in the 1950s and spent many Saturday mornings there. Back then the sculptures were in the back yard of a private residence and so you had to go down the owner’s driveway to get to the backyard. If caught then you were “asked” to leave. However, the allure of running around and climbing on the sculptures was impossible to resist. The sphinx was my absolute favorite. I’m sure the owners weren’t happy with steady stream of kids. I know this because after a while, a fence and gate were built closing off the backyard. Now, I periodically meet a friend for coffee at the garden. I take the time to read the text that had always been an integral part of the sculpture and I still can’t resist climbing on the sculptures. We are all indebted to the leadership of Robert Bliss who spearheaded the effort to save Gilgal.
Bruce Miya
July 21, 2020


I remember going there once upon a time in the pitch of night in the ‘60s and feeling that I was somewhere I shouldn’t be. It felt forbidden and scary to me and I was very happy to leave. But I do remember the sphinx! Haven’t been back since except maybe in my most scary dreams!
Timmie Walker Kent
July 21, 2020


I have a hazy memory of walking over to Gilgal for the first time after school with friends from Bryant Jr. High in the ‘60s. I sat on a cement or rock wall on the north side of the garden and just watched my friends, who were more familiar with the place, along with some other young people I didn’t know. I don’t remember investigating the statues and rock art up close but looked at them from my perch on the wall. I felt like we were trespassing, and I think a few of the wilder people might have been drinking beer, so I was a bit nervous. But my overall impression was that this was an odd and strange place constructed by someone with a lot of imagination and an eccentric religious intellect. Fast forward to 2019 when I was invited to join the Friends of Gilgal Garden board, so now more than a half a century later, I’ve come full circle!
Ann Whitney Floor
July 21, 2020


I mostly remember the garden from when I was at East High. It was a very good place for a first date with someone you did not know well. I think a lot of Avenues friends thought it was weird at the time as did most dates. I have liked it on and off since my time at East. I usually visit about once every five years. Most of my friends know very little about it. My wife Karen remembers visiting it with her friends after going to Hires. They all liked the religious nature. The last time we were there was about five years back when a youth group from Holladay was there as part of a race game. They were interested in artwork. I like how it has been preserved and made into a small park.
Tres Romney
July 21, 2020