Salvation Mountain

salvation mountain

Salvation Mountain is a colorful art installation covering much of a small hill north of Calipatria, California, near Slab City (an RV camp) and just several miles from the Salton Sea. It is made from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint. It was created by Leonard Knight to convey the message ‘God Is Love.’ Steps cut into the side of the hill lead to the summit, which is topped by a cross. Salvation Mountain also features many large straw bale and adobe walls supported by a matrix of logs enclosing several cave-like spaces. Knight lives full-time at the site in a small cabin mounted on the rear of a 1930s Chevrolet.

Like Salvation Mountain, Knight’s ‘Salvation Truck’ and a collection of other vehicles and machinery are entirely covered with paint and Biblical quotes. He estimates that more than 100,000 gallons of paint have gone into the creation of the mountain and that every California-based paint manufacturer has donated paint to the project. Once labeled an environmental hazard, the hill was threatened with removal by Imperial County. In recent years, the furor has died down. Although the project is unauthorized and on state land, Salvation Mountain was placed under protection in 2002 when Senator Barbara Boxer entered it into the Congressional Record as a national treasure.

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