Desert Christ ParkReverend Eddie Garver & Frank Antone Martin (1887-1961)
About the Artist/Site
Desert Christ Park is tucked away on a hill that overlooks the small desert town of Yucca Valley. The park is filled with multiple large white religious statues, thoughtfully placed to display as sacred scenes. Established in 1951 by Reverend Eddie Garver, who had a vision to create a Christian-themed park, Garver eventually collaborated with engineer and sculptor Frank Martin, who had been sculpting statues out of steel-reinforced concrete. Martin’s resurrected Christ, for example, which is one of the dominant statues of the park, was originally designed by the artist to be placed at the Grand Canyon. Upon rejection from the church and the state of California for that public site, Martin offered the statue to Garver and his Christian-themed park.
Desert Christ Park received a significant amount of attention from the media, including LIFE magazine in the 1951, when the “unwanted Christ” statue was moved down the highway from Los Angeles. The partnership of Garver and Martin dissolved in the late 1950s, and Garver sold his property to the Brownell family, who later donated it to the Evangelical Free Church; in the meantime, the Garvers moved away, to missions in Arizona, and Martin died in 1961. Yet the surreal combination of the white sculptures and the vivid desert surroundings remains compelling.
Today the park is being preserved by a small foundation, creating a beautiful place to visit in the desert. Neighboring Joshua Tree, Desert Christ Park is an excellent companion to Joshua Tree’s beauty and mystery. The dynamic statues, situated among the yucca tree-filled desert setting, are inspirational for those of any religious orientation.
Map & Site Information
57090 Twentynine Palms Highway
Yucca Valley, California, 92284 us
Latitude/Longitude: 34.1239076 / -116.4183475
Joshua Tree, California
Palm Springs, California
Twentynine Palms, California