Desert Christ Park is located in Yucca Valley in the eastern portion of California's Mojave Desert. It sits on a hillside near the Evangelical Free Church overlooking the town. It was dedicated on Easter Day in 1951.
The park was originally owned by a preacher named Eddie Garver who had founded the Yucca Valley Community Church five years earlier. He acquired land next to where the park now sits in 1950 with the dream of creating a Christian-themed park.
Garver met Frank Antone Martin, a sculptor from Southern California. Martin created a 10-foot tall “resurrected Christ” out of steal and reinforced concrete. The sculpture weighed five tons.
Martin’s plan was for the sculpture to be placed on a rim of the Grand Canyon but he was not allowed to do so based on First Amendment issues. He sculpture became known as “The Unwanted Christ.”
Martin eventually agreed for the sculpture to be placed at Christ’s Park. It was brought to the park in the back of a truck a week before the park opened.
Martin returned to Yucca Valley the following year, eventually deciding to move there. He created more sculptures for the park over the next 10 years.
Martin died in 1961. Garver sold the property to local parishioners in the late 1950s.
Today the park is operated and maintained by the Desert Christ Park Foundation and a five-member governing board. The park is funded solely through donations and grants. Most of the statues show signs of aging and vandalism. The Foundation is actively seeking funding for restoration.