I just learned with certainty that Chattooga County purchased Paradise Gardens. I can't express how happy this makes me. There have been whispers about this for the last several years but then it would get quiet again and nothing would happen.
Paradise Gardens is the product of the blood, sweat and tears of Reverend Howard Finster. An evangelist Baptist preacher who became an artist due to Divine intervention (God asked him to do 5,000 paintings to spread the Gospel; he did over 48,000 pieces of artwork), he is considered by many as the grandfather of the American folk art movement.
Reverend Howard started building what is now known as Paradise Gardens on it's currently location in 1961.... on 4 acres of swampland in Pennville Georgia. He worked continually on it until his death in 2001. A sad note: after his death a portion of the gardens was ripped out and has become part of the permanent exhibit at The High Museum in Atlanta. While I LOVE The High, Paradise Gardens makes no sense out of context. But maybe if it's introducing those people to Reverend Howard who wouldn't normally make the trip to Pennville, it's not a completely evil thing?
my two sisters being goofy with the Finster Coke bottle
my sister Sonia outside the bottle house, one of the inspirations for my bottle wall
my sister Lynn in the garden
cool cement faces! There are lots of these cement and mosaic pieces spread thru the whole garden.
I've always called this The Disco House.
The Chapel. This building is amazing... and also in danger of becoming a complete cave-in. A strong wind would blow it over.
The county owning Paradise Gardens can only be a positive. The gardens are in desperate need of funding and repairs. I've also been saying for decades the place needs to be listed on the national historic registry. Maybe with the gardens being owned by the county they can start getting the grants and federal funding needed to ensure the creations of Reverend Howard is around for many more years to come.