Welcome to Look Around, a new section of Mari Go Round that lets photography drive the narrative. Tune in every week as I visually take you along with me to cool, far-flung attractions, events and happenings in Southern California and beyond.
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The desert holds so many odd and curious stories. One such story is that of late Reverend Eddie Garver. Garver, also known as The Desert Parson, had a vision. He wanted to dream up a Christian Theme Park, a place for reflection, peace and refuge. The U.S. government gave the project a thumbs up, even offering Garver five acres of land in the desert to play with. In 1951, the first statue — a giant Jesus, made by sculptor and poet Frank Antone Martin and hauled from Los Angeles on the back of a truck — appeared on the hillside.
Now, there are about 40 of these stark-white sculptures, all scattered around the Christ Desert Park in Yucca Valley, one of the many desert communities that make Joshua Tree such a special place. If you’re in the area, this place is worth a stop. It feels so strange, inspiring and unexpected, because it’s something no one expects to see in the middle of the desert. The three-story, 125-ton bas-relief of The Last Supper is a must-see, and the little vignettes and biblical scenes will keep your interest piqued.