Garden of Gethsemane


Tucson, Arizona

The story of Tucson's Garden of Gethsemane is best told by the plaque that accompanies a bust of the artist on the site:

Felix Lucero

1895 - 1951

Garden of Gethsemane -- Felix Lucero Park

The artist-sculptor was born in Trinidad, Colorado. In World War I, he lay critically injured on a forgotten battlefield. He vowed to God and to himself that if he survived, he would dedicate the remainder of his life to the sculpturing of religious statues for which he had natural talent. After 20 years of this pious work in various parts of the country, he arrived in Tucson in 1938. Heartbreak and pain walked with the artist during his sacred efforts.

The sculptures include the Last Supper, Jesus on the cross, Joseph and Mary, a reproduction of the tomb and a theatre-like castle, with an open front, displaying a scene of Pontius Pilot [sic] washing his hands and another of a legion of Roman soldiers. The statues are all made of concrete, sand and debris recovered from the Santa Cruz River.

The work, started in 1945, continues to survive the ravages of time, floods and many acts of vandalism. The Garden of Gethsemane was first moved in 1971 for construction of the Congress Street bridge. The current facility was constructed in 1982 as part of the Santa Cruz River flood control improvements.

The present facility represents a cooperative effort between the City of Tucson, the State of Arizona and the Downtown Development Corporation.





Bust of artist Felix Lucero.

Directions: Northwest corner of W. Congress Street and N. Bonita Avenue.

Last visited: December 2009. Update March 2013: The Garden of Gethsemane is reportedly now open only by reservation for special occasions.

Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.

Revised: May 4, 2013
Copyright © 2009-2013 Joe Orman
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