Tucson, Arizona: Garden of Gethsemane
Felix Lucero Park
- 602 W. Congress St., Tucson, AZ
- Felix Lucero Park. I-10 exit 258. West on Congress St. one block. On the western bank of the Santa Cruz riverbed, at the corner of Congress St. and Bonita Ave.
- By appointment or special event. (Call to verify)
The artist sculpted it to thank God for sparing him in World War I. He lived under a nearby bridge. Roadsideamerica.com Report...
Visitor Tips and News About Garden of Gethsemane
It is right off of I-10. You can't walk around and see the statues up close. It is in a small fenced area. There was a homeless man sleeping at the gate. It is only open for special occasions that you can reserve it for. Good if you are looking to stretch you legs out.[Danielle, 03/03/2013]
Too bad about the restricted access. It used to be open to the public all the time...
I was out to the Garden and most of it looks pretty good. The life size crucifix is gone (for repairs one hopes) but the rest look alright. I must say I could not stop giggling while I was around the statues. I don't know if it was "holy joy" or just the goofiness of the whole thing. Not far from the muffler man either.[Charles Bennett, 02/05/2008]
Others have noticed the crucifix missing in recent weeks.
The Garden of Gethsemane is a tiny park in downtown Tucson that features life-size statues of the Last Supper, Mary and Joseph, Jesus on the Cross, and the body of Christ in his tomb, plus a wonky miniature depiction of the Judgment before Pontius Pilate. The statues are made out of concrete coated with plaster and are the work of self-taught artist Felix Lucero, who, when wounded on a French battlefield in World War I, swore to God he'd devote his life to religious sculpture if he survived. He didn't have any training in sculpture, but that doesn't seem to have deterred him. He moved to Tucson in 1938, lived in a cardboard and plywood shack under the Congress St. bridge, and began making sculptures out of riverbed sand. When those washed away, he graduated to concrete. He died in 1951, but the statues have been maintained over the years by the Knights of Columbus and have survived floods, vandalism, and relocation.[Dean Jeffrey, 03/23/2003]