Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Salvation Mountain at The Slabs - Niland, California

The Slabs is an area in the Imperial Valley of California, just outside the small town of Niland. At one time, this area was a military installation, but all that's left of that are some concrete slabs where buildings once were. And that's how the area was named.

This area has been a site for camping for years. In 1984 a man by the name of Leonard Knight took up residence in the area and started a monument dedicated to God and love. The monument has been named Salvation Mountain and is still a work in progress, even though Mr. Knight passed away last year. He made this work of art out of adobe and paint and there are excerpts from the bible, paintings of flowers, trees, a waterfall and more. There is a plaque in one area that states the monument was designated in 2001 by the Folk Art Society of America as a “National Folk Art Site Worthy of Protection and Preservation”.

Mr Knight worked on this art project for decades and when he realized that his health was failing, set up a corporation and volunteer board of directors to ensure that the project would be maintained and continued. He continued to be active at the site until his death last year.
This colorful mountain is what you see first when you come into the area known as The Slabs. Further on are many dirt roads in the desert (and a couple old paved ones) where you'll find motorhomes, 5th wheels and trailers of all kinds. Some people have decorated their areas or fenced them in. One man had a yard sale set up and a sign at another area advertised solar panels sold and installed.
As with much of the desert land in this area, some snowbirds have been coming back to the same places year after year. The camping area is laid back and simple, although I did see an area set aside near some big Class A motorhomes advertising an internet cafe. I've been told that there is usually music one night a week and other get togethers planned. I would imagine it's a big reunion at the beginning of each winter season.
On the way out, the sign below on a small building reminds you that all is not all fun and games in the real world.

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