Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden | Summerville200 North Lewis Street
I’ve wanted to visit Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden for years now, but finally made my way there while visiting “Sloppy” Floyd State Park recently…they are only about 10 minutes from each other. Howard Finster was a folk artist of “sacred art” and minister from Summerville (he was born in Alabama, but moved here shortly thereafter.) He began building the Summerville garden in the 40s, and continued with Paradise Garden which is available for tours. He has been called both “the grandfather of Southern Folk Art” and “the Andy Warhol of the South.”
From the website: “This humble God fearing man had a vision from God at the age of 59. From that day forward he followed God’s call to paint sacred art. He worked tirelessly day and night until he was called home at the age of 84, producing over 46,000 works of art and building a place of inspiration to continue his message long after his passing. Howard Finster had the strongest work ethic. He was re-purposing and recycling before recycling was cool.”
If you visit, there is a drive-thru-only restaurant near the state park called Burger Shack. I highly recommend getting some grub here. Two thumbs up from the whole family, with great prices. Cash only, though, so be prepared.
Disclosure: No one paid us. No one asked. We loved it and wanted to share. #keepingitreal