I am not Roman Catholic so the "Stations of the Cross" are not particularly significant to me but I am a Christian and this sculpture garden between I-40 and Rt. 66 near Groom is spectacular. The cross, which in many ways dominates the area is said to be the largest one in the Western Hemisphere. (A contributor on Flickr says that it is the second largest but does not say where the largest one is.) The one near Groom is 190 feet tall by 110 feet wide and weighs 1,250 tons (2.5 million pounds, over a million kilograms). In addition, there are 12 sculptures of the "Stations of the Cross" and a very special depiction of Golgotha, the scene of Christ's crucifixion and of his tomb.
The cross was built by Steve Thomas of Pampa, Texas in 1995. Mr. Thomas, disgusted with the huge billboards advertising XXX pornography locations along I-40 wanted to make a public profession of his Christian faith along the Interstate. Originally, he wanted to put up his own billboard with Bible verses but could never find the appropriate verse. Instead, inspired by a cross built by a rancher in Ballinger, Texas, Mr. Thomas knew that he would build a cross. It was built on private property donated by Chris Britten (the man who used to own the truck stop and who built the leaning water tower) to avoid legal hassles with the ACLU.
In a circle around the huge cross is a (more or less) set of life-size sculptures of the Stations of the Cross. These were sculpted by Mickey Wells of Amarillo and, eventhough I am not Roman Catholic, they add immeasurable poignancy to the overall scene.
Located on privately owned land that was donated by Chris Britten to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries so the ACLU cannot touch it. The cross is 190-foot (58 m) in height, which is 19 stories high and was built in 1995 in Pampa Texas. A Mr.Steve Thomas was tired of the pornography on billboards along I-40 and decided it was time that faith be introduced in a large scale. If you look at the web site, there is more to see at the foot of the cross. We didn't get to stop, but at least I was able to take some photo's. It is on my list of things to see again:)
Even though this town is small and easily just passed by, but you have to wonder why the water tower leans. "Leanin Tower of Texas...lol!" It is said, that a very crafty entrepreneur named Mr. Britten who owned a truck stop, wanted folks to stop and check it out. Many think the name on the tower is the name of the town, but that is incorrect. Although, the truck stop is long gone, the tower still stand proudly, "Leaning!"
"There were these two nuns in a car, and some bloke cuts them up"
"This is a joke you'r telling I take it ?"
"To continue, the nun who is driving is very annoyed about this. As they pull up level with the rude driver at the lights, the other nun says - show him your cross sister, he will realise the mistake he has made, ask for forgiveness and turn to Jesus. The nun rolls down her window, turns to me man and says :
' OI: arsehole, why don't you learn how to F*****g drive. Tosser'"
"And the point of this joke ?"
"Look out of the window"
"Bloody hell that is one big cross, that showed me,"
"190 feet, apparantly the biggest in the Northern Hemisphere, it's becoming something of a pilgrimage site these days, yet it was only put up in 1995"
This huge steel cross is 190 feet tall and can be seen up to 20 miles away. It lights up at night and is located on the side of I-40 in Groom, TX, approximately 40miles east of Amarillo. It is known as the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere.
"Where is this place ?, I can't find it on the map"
"But that water tower, that looks about ready to fall down has Britten written on it"
"Well, there was a truckstop here once, which has since burned down. The owner, who has that name, constucted this leaning tower as a kind of advertising hoarding, so people would remember or just stop because they were curious"
"What a great idea"
19 storeys (190 ft) tall with arms 110 ft wide the Cross is visible from 20 miles.
The construction took eight months and was completed in July 1995.
Every piece had to fit together when the frame was transported and assembled at the construction site forty
miles away. The cross weighs 1,250 tons or 2 1/2 million pounds.
Here you can judge the size from the picture of the cross dwarfing our bus.
Surrounding the main structure are statues depicting the Stations of the Cross and, off to one side is a representation of Calvary & the crucifiction of Christ.
When I visited, the site was still undergoing some construction of "The Fountain of Living Water and the Empty Tomb".
More pictures are given in the Travelogue.
Now, I'm not a true believer, but you have to admire the dedication of any group willing to erect such a monument to their faith. At least it's a positive creation rather than a destructive act in the name of a religion (OK, mini-rant over. Sorry).