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n oft-overlooked spot in Salt Lake City, Utah, the International Peace Gardens features twenty-eight nations and cultural identities across eleven acres, and is one of three such parks in the United States. 

“When people come, … they say, ‘I didn’t know this existed,’” Irene Wiesenberg, a past president of the Salt Lake Council of Women, told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2006. “It is a shame more people don’t know about it.”

Ruey Hazlet Wiesley conceived the Peace Gardens in 1939. However, World War II prolonged the initial dedication to 1952, finally fulfilling Wiesley’s aspiration in a relevant post-war era.

"Here is planted not only trees and shrubs,” said Wiesley as quoted in a summary of the park's significance, “but Americanism full of brother love.” 

The International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States. Photo by Whitney DeVries.

Cultural contributions throughout the park spotlight places around the world. For example, a 50-foot replica of the Matterhorn arises. The nearby Danish garden contains a downsized replica of Copenhagen’s “Little Mermaid” statue, a rare copy allowed by the Danish King and sculptor Edvard Eriksen. The India display includes a "Gupta Buddha” stone delivered by the Government of India in 1965, and two marble lion sculptures from the Chinese Cultural Center greet visitors at the adjacent China pavilion. Decades of history emerge in the gardens, many of which preserve similar contributions.

While many national plots look complete, others seemingly lack development. The Dutch garden, while originally designed to include a massive wooden shoe surrounded by tulips, remains reduced to a small plot of flowers that simply spell out “Holland.” An individual sign stands for Canada’s section. In some cases, only a flag and a small plot of land represent a country.

Episodes of vandalism and theft disturb the history of the Peace Gardens. Thieves stole a Japanese Kwannon statue that survived two Allied bombings in Japan during WWII. A sundial gifted from the King of Sweden also vanished. The “Little Mermaid” statue remains a target.

The International Peace Gardens persist despite these issues and their age. The land and exhibits look original, even if dated. 

"It's important to have within the urban fabric a place where people can gather and become refreshed again,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer Depaulis in 1988 at the rededication of the Swiss garden. “But this park is not only a place of peace and quiet and a place to enjoy relaxation but a place to make us look forward to the future in an international way. We are here to celebrate our diverse nationalities." 

While Mayor Depaulis' remarks were made over 30 years ago, the International Peace Gardens continue to serve that purpose. The gardens may remain overlooked, but the commemoration of cultures and peace will likely last for many more decades to come. 

The Salt Lake Council of Women Past Presidents Council directs the Peace Gardens today, and the Salt Lake City Parks Division maintains the land and gardens. City officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The International Peace Gardens are located at 1160 Dalton Ave S in Salt Lake City, Utah. The gardens are open from 7 AM to 10 PM, with flower displays in bloom from May until October. Additional information is available on the International Peace Gardens website.

About
Whitney DeVries
:
Whitney DeVries is a Diplomatic Courier correspondent currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise at the University of Utah.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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Hidden Gem Showcases World Peace

Photo by Uta Scholl via Unsplash.

June 25, 2021

The International Peace Gardens in Utah has a rich history and showcases cultural understanding and world peace. Unfortunately, this garden - and others like it in the US - remain largely unknown to the population at large.

A

n oft-overlooked spot in Salt Lake City, Utah, the International Peace Gardens features twenty-eight nations and cultural identities across eleven acres, and is one of three such parks in the United States. 

“When people come, … they say, ‘I didn’t know this existed,’” Irene Wiesenberg, a past president of the Salt Lake Council of Women, told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2006. “It is a shame more people don’t know about it.”

Ruey Hazlet Wiesley conceived the Peace Gardens in 1939. However, World War II prolonged the initial dedication to 1952, finally fulfilling Wiesley’s aspiration in a relevant post-war era.

"Here is planted not only trees and shrubs,” said Wiesley as quoted in a summary of the park's significance, “but Americanism full of brother love.” 

The International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States. Photo by Whitney DeVries.

Cultural contributions throughout the park spotlight places around the world. For example, a 50-foot replica of the Matterhorn arises. The nearby Danish garden contains a downsized replica of Copenhagen’s “Little Mermaid” statue, a rare copy allowed by the Danish King and sculptor Edvard Eriksen. The India display includes a "Gupta Buddha” stone delivered by the Government of India in 1965, and two marble lion sculptures from the Chinese Cultural Center greet visitors at the adjacent China pavilion. Decades of history emerge in the gardens, many of which preserve similar contributions.

While many national plots look complete, others seemingly lack development. The Dutch garden, while originally designed to include a massive wooden shoe surrounded by tulips, remains reduced to a small plot of flowers that simply spell out “Holland.” An individual sign stands for Canada’s section. In some cases, only a flag and a small plot of land represent a country.

Episodes of vandalism and theft disturb the history of the Peace Gardens. Thieves stole a Japanese Kwannon statue that survived two Allied bombings in Japan during WWII. A sundial gifted from the King of Sweden also vanished. The “Little Mermaid” statue remains a target.

The International Peace Gardens persist despite these issues and their age. The land and exhibits look original, even if dated. 

"It's important to have within the urban fabric a place where people can gather and become refreshed again,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer Depaulis in 1988 at the rededication of the Swiss garden. “But this park is not only a place of peace and quiet and a place to enjoy relaxation but a place to make us look forward to the future in an international way. We are here to celebrate our diverse nationalities." 

While Mayor Depaulis' remarks were made over 30 years ago, the International Peace Gardens continue to serve that purpose. The gardens may remain overlooked, but the commemoration of cultures and peace will likely last for many more decades to come. 

The Salt Lake Council of Women Past Presidents Council directs the Peace Gardens today, and the Salt Lake City Parks Division maintains the land and gardens. City officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The International Peace Gardens are located at 1160 Dalton Ave S in Salt Lake City, Utah. The gardens are open from 7 AM to 10 PM, with flower displays in bloom from May until October. Additional information is available on the International Peace Gardens website.

About
Whitney DeVries
:
Whitney DeVries is a Diplomatic Courier correspondent currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise at the University of Utah.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.