Location: Imperial County, CA
Deep in the Sonoran Desert of California stands one man's elaborate tribute to a loving God. Leonard Knight had no previous experience as an artist when he decided to build the mountain. All he had to work with were the materials around him in the desert, such as sand, clay, and whatever paint was available. In 1985 Knight said a prayer and began building.
About four years into construction, the entire mountain collapsed, but that did not stop Leonard Knight. He began again from the ground up, this time using a mixture of adobe clay mixed with straw to glue the mountain together, along with an estimated 100,000 gallons of paint. In edition to the exterior of the mountain, Knight also built a hand full of hollow side portions of the mountain which visitors can go inside and explore. Inside are old photos of the mountain and artist, sculptures, bible scriptures, and even an old car door. And it all keeps with the theme of "God is Love."
Until his dying breath in 2014, Knight maintained that it was God who built the mountain and not himself. A special service was held for Knight at the mountain he spent nearly 30 years of his life constructing. Salvation Mountain still exists to this day and is cared for and preserved by a group of volunteers who live on site. With the constant exposure to the desert wind, tourists, and other elements, the mountain is in constant need of maintenance and fresh paint. It's not unusual to see a number of painters repainting the structures while visiting.