Julie J. Nichols

I was first introduced to Gilgal in about 1975 by a good friend–we were both grad students and lived in a neighborhood close to the U. He kept our destination a secret and, as I remember, he brought us to a gate into somebody’s back yard, and opened it brazenly. I hung back, concerned that it was private property, that we shouldn’t go in. He assured me we should, ushered me inside an overgrown, unkempt area interspersed with a wide scattering of unbelievable stone figures, and let me gawk in awe and wonder. I LOVED it. The strange, provocative stonework and its existence as a secret for only those in the know–these gave it mystery and delight. I never forgot it. It has an important role in a novel I’m writing, so, hoping to go back and refresh my memory, I took three of my grandkids there for a much-needed excursion during COVID. We were the only ones there. I was astonished to see how it’s been restored, perhaps a little disappointed that the wild secret quality of it was gone (though of course FOGG must absolutely be applauded and supported for their astounding restoration work!). The place is still incredible. It haunts my heart. I wrote a piece about all this for the Utah@125 project–watch for it–it will be online before the end of 2021. I was excited to contribute 125 words about this little-known visionary art masterpiece in the heart of Salt Lake City…and there will be something exciting, perhaps even heart-haunting, that takes place at Gilgal in my forthcoming novel as well. A marvelous work and a wonder.

Leave a comment