In an aerial view of the Imperial Valley, in the southeastern corner of California, Salvation Mountain (shown above) stands out as the sole splash of color against a relentless monochrome of beige and gray. Covered in thousands of gallons of paint, the structure stands about two stories high, made entirely of adobe pulled out of the surrounding hillside. On top of the mountain is a cross made from two old telephone poles reclaimed from the desert, and beneath the cross, in huge letters spelled out in adobe relief and painted bright red and pink against a clean white background is the message that is the Mountain’s raison d’etre: “God is Love.” Possibly the most well-known roadside attraction in the California desert, the folk art piece near the Salton Sea, over three decades in the making, was built entirely by Leonard Knight. Knight passed away in 2014.
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