Leonard Knight, the creator of Salvation Mountain, passed away earlier this month at the age of 82.
Leonard spent close to 30 years building Salvation Mountain. Pretty much all by himself. He estimated once that he had used probably over 100,000 gallons of paint - most of it donated, some of it found. The mountain itself was built up from whatever he could find in the desert. Along side of the mountain he built a dome shaped hogan using straw and adobe, and also an elaborate series of rooms he called a museum.
The first time I saw this place was in early 2008, while I was touring around the eastern side of the Salton Sea. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, having heard stories and seen pictures of it - none of which quite prepared one for the real thing. Leonard was quite pleased to show us around and explain how he built things. His art certainly had a religious theme, but he never tried to push that on visitors. Everyone was welcome, the subject of what you may or may not have believed in never came up. I returned to Salvation Mountain a few more times, and on each visit Leonard gave us a tour and enthusiastically showed us what he was working on at that point.
Here is a link to an L. A. Times article about Leonard's passing.
You can see more of my pictures from visits to Salvation Mountain and the Salton Sea in this gallery and this gallery. Salvation Mountain is located just east of the town of Niland, California, on the road to Slab City. It's hard to say what will become of Salvation Mountain now that Leonard is gone.
Photography . . . Travel . . .
- Frank B. Baiamonte
- San Diego, California, United States
- About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.
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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at email@example.com to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage.
Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.