The Christ of the Ozarks
Rising 67 feet above the top
of Magnetic Mountain, the
statue is 65 feet wide.
Emmet Sullivan Sculpture
The creator of the statue also
worked on the Presidents at
Mount Rushmore.
Christ of the Ozarks - Eureka Springs, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Christ of the Ozarks, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Christ of the Ozarks, Arkansas
Christ of the Ozarks
The top of the statue reaches an elevation of 1,500
feet above sea level. It has overlooked Eureka
Springs for more than four decades and is a fixture
on the grounds of the Great Passion Play.
Eureka's Jesus on the Mountain
For more than forty years, an astounding
statue of Jesus Christ has looked out over
Eureka Springs, Arkansas, from a beautifully
landscaped site on the grounds of the Great
Passion Play.

The statue was conceived and initiated by
Gerald L.K. Smith, a religious and political
leader active during the Great Depression
and World War II. An opponent of President
Franklin Roosevelt, he was a one-time
leader in Senator Huey Long's "Share Our
Wealth" campaign and ran for president on
independent tickets during the 1940s and
1950s. He was a major opponent of the
Alaska Mental Health Bill of 1955, a
Congressional measure that many anti-
Communists believed could lead to the
creation of an American concentration camp
in Alaska.

Later in his life, Smith moved to Eureka
Springs, where he visualized the building of a
religious amusement park atop Magnetic
Mountain. He conceived the Christ of the
Ozarks as a centerpiece for his planned park.
Smith died in 1976 and his amusement park
dream was never fully realized, but his
astounding statue of Jesus on the
mountaintop has become one of the most
visited attractions in Eureka Springs.

Completed in 1966 by the Elna M. Smith
Foundation, the statue was sculpted by
Emmet Sullivan, who was also noted as one
of the sculptors of the massive Presidential
artwork at Mount Rushmore. The top of the
statue soars some 1,500 feet above sea
level (67 feet above the top of Magnetic
Mountain) and its width, from fingertip to
fingertip is 65 feet. It is one of the tallest
statues in both the United States and the
world.

Smith and his wife are buried at the foot of
the Christ of the Ozarks, overlooking the
valley and city of Eureka Springs. He was a
major figure in bringing the economically
depressed city back to life as a tourist
destination during the 1960s.
The Christ of the Ozarks is located on the
grounds of the Great Passion Play, one of the
most popular live performances in the South.
Other points of interest on the grounds
include a section of the Berlin Wall, the Bible
Museum, the Holy Land Tour, the Museum of
History and, of course, the Great Passion
Play itself. For more information on the
various attractions, please
click here.

The statue and grounds are open to the
public 24 hours a day.
Section of the Berlin Wall
A large piece of the Berlin
Wall can be seen near the
feet of the Christ of the Ozarks.
Gurney's 125 x 125
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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