Christ of the Ozarks Statue Nominated for National Register

Jill M. Rohrbach
jillsjourneys@gmail.com
The Christ of the Ozarks Statue in Eureka Springs is among 11 Arkansas properties the State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program will consider for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places when it meets at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7 in Little Rock.

The seven-story-high Christ of the Ozarks statue is the largest Christ memorial statue on the North American continent. Every inch of the 24 layers of white mortar on a steel frame was built by hand. The statue hands, from wrist to fingertip, measure approximately seven feet. The arm spread from fingertip to fingertip spans 65 feet.

Some Eureka Springs residents are encouraging people to write a letter of support for the statue to be placed on the National Register because of the significant value it would bring to the town. Letters can be emailed to info@arkansaspreservation.org.

The statue is located on the grounds of The Great Passion Play, which features state-of-the-art sound and lighting effects and original music in a dramatic two-hour presentation of the last days of Jesus’ life on earth. The play is performed in a 4,100-seat panoramic outdoor amphitheater. This year’s season opens May 7. Other activities on the grounds include the Bible Story Tour, Sacred Arts Center and Bible Museum, Top of the Mountain Dinner Show, Museum of Earth History, Gift Shops, and concessions.


According to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s Web site, “Ordinarily, properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious purposes are not considered eligible for the National Register. However, such properties will qualify if they are integral parts of districts that do meet the criteria…or a religious property deriving primary significance from architectural or artistic distinction or historical importance” can qualify.

“The National Register of Historic Places is the country’s official list of historically significant sites worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archaeological resources. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service under the Secretary of the Interior. Properties listed in the National Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the United States.”

In Arkansas, the National Register is administered by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), which is the agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage that is headed by the State Historic Preservation Officer.

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