For the many years that I lived in Arkansas, I had heard of The Great Passion Play that was performed in Eureka Springs yet I had never found the opportunity to attend it and having found myself in the area at last….still missed it!
Though it was being performed the nights we were there, we were in the area for another purpose, a family reunion and our attention was focused on family time. However, after the family said their goodbyes and all departed for home, we decided to stay an extra day to explore the area.
One such stop would be The Christ Of The Ozarks memorial statue that sits atop Magnetic Mountain. On our way we stopped at a darling little mom & pop ice cream shop, Ice Cream Delights. We had been dieting for AWHILE and the day was sweltering hot so a treat sounded like a great idea.
Clay and I both got a single hand scooped Ice cream in waffle cones, enjoying them outside beneath the shading trees. But, I must confess that the homemade, piping hot apple dumplings were a serious temptation!
The statue is located at the far end of the Passion Play Complex which contains a holy land tour, museums and the 4000 seat amphitheater with a 3 story high set and employs 170 actors plus animals! The Passion Play has been performed here since 1968 and has been enjoyed by over 7.8 million vistitors.
We drove to the back and parked near The Little Church In The Grove where a potion of the Berlin Wall, resides then strolled along the park like path leading to the statue. The couple who built this area are buried nearby, Gerald and Elna Smith.
The Little Church In The Grove
The Church in the Grove was built around the turn of the century by Jonathan Stites. It was located on Highway 62 East, about 2.5 miles from this location. In the beginning it was used not only as a church but also as a meeting place and school. After 1915, it was dedicated as a full-time church. For many years a circuit rider preacher ministered to this little congregation. The Congregation would meet at noon for a pot luck dinner and follow with a worship service.
The Passion Play moved the Church in the Grove to the grounds of the Great Passion Play in January of 1986.
The Christ Of The Ozarks built in 1966
Below the statue is a seating area where we took in the view across the hills. Across, on a high peak, we could see the historic ( and haunted) Crescent Hotel…Our next adventure.