Salvage Salvation Mountain
Salvation Mountain is a testimony to one man’s passion, devotion, and selfless expression of the message “God is Love.” For more than 30 years, Leonard Knight worked relentlessly to erect this monument. The mountain is an adobe-style, hand-painted, three stories high and 100 feet wide mound with a cross sitting on top. Over the years, Knight added two additional structures next to the mountain.
His work and the structures caught the attention of folk-art enthusiast and religious devotees alike, generating up to a 100 visitors a day to the site. Never has Knight charged admittance, nor has he perverted his message by making a profit off the site.
Knight is nearing the age of 81. Life has taken its toll, and he is no longer physically able to live and work at Salvation Mountain. His permanent return to his work is not likely, but his legacy is struggling to survive in his absence.
A nonprofit was established, and a board of directors consisting of his friends and family has been entrusted to administer the future of the mountain. Currently, a young couple from Oregon is camping out and keeping watch on the site. They do repairs to the structure as best as they can. There is even a Facebook page.
The future of the mountain is uncertain but not necessarily in turmoil. Salvation Mountain is located in the lower desert of Southern California in Imperial County.
The site neighbors Slab City, a former military base that welcomes freethinkers and free spirits. There doesn’t seem to be any disturbance coming from them. Although the mountain is on government land, there has been no protest for religious display on public property. In fact, public outcry has helped protect the site from past disturbances from county officials. That doesn’t mean it’s in the clear; there just hasn’t been enough money or staff to actually execute an action on the property.
It’s only a matter of time before a conflict arises and an action must be taken on the land. Hopefully, by then the nonprofit will have secured a way to protect Knight’s vision and life work.
Image by EsotericSapience, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.Tweet