Valley of the Moon: Where the Fairies Live

September 28th, 2017 · No Comments

Valley of the Moon by Jane St. Clair

Once upon a time the family of a little girl suffering from tuberculosis brought her to Tucson. It was common in the 1910s for sick people to come here. The girl’s parents were hoping Arizona’s warm desert air would cure her.

The little girl lay in her bed, looking out her window at barren desert wilderness. A neighbor boy named George Phar Legler, felt compassion for her, and made her a window box full of fairy castles. The box even had a lake and a waterfall that could flow whenever George poured buckets of water over it.

Sadly, the little girl died, but George Legler had found his mission in life – to live a life of kindness, and to create places where the human imagination can run free — places where the fairies can live.

Using stone, sand, mail order cement and whatever he had, George Legler built a fantasy-land on two-and-a-half acres in Tucson. When he finished, he named it “The Valley of the Moon.”

A friend of Legler once said, “George didn’t just believe in fairies. He was surrounded by them.” George practiced spiritualism, a religion that teaches that the world is full of living supernatural creatures. Ghosts, sprites and fairies were very real to George Legler. He lived in the Valley of the Moon, sometimes sleeping in caves near his Enchanted Garden, and other times just bunking under the bright stars of the black desert nighttime sky.

He made statues and houses where fairies, gnomes, and even tree spirits could share the space with him. Today it’s cool to to catch fairies. George Legler knew how to do it a hundred years ago.

Legler opened the Valley of the Moon to the public in 1926. Then and now the Valley is full of random twists, like smiling trees from a miniature golf course and a green snake made from oatmeal boxes. It has this Wild West masculine vibe to it – as if Pecos Bill were designing fairy castles for Disney princesses.

By the 1950s, thousands of visitors were visiting the Valley of the Moon. But as Legler’s health grew worse, he lived in the Valley as a hermit,unable to maintain his fantasy-land. One night vandals broke into the property and smashed the fairy castles and gnome statues.This crime hurt George very much! The gnomes were so real to him that he created gravestones for them.

In every fairy tale, good always overcomes evil, and that’s what happened in this story. Neighborhood teenagers, curious about what was behind the strange fences, also broke into the Valley of the Moon. This time they offered to restore it according to George Legler’s original vision.

In 1975, the Valley of the Moon was added to the Arizona Register of Historic Places, and in 2011, to the National Register of Historic Places. The Valley of the Moon with its whimsy and fairies and stone castles lives today happily ever after.

The motto of the Valley of the Moon is “Where the magic of imagination lives free, the spirit of childhood is forever, and Kindness to All is the Golden Key to Happiness.” It’s open at random times, so check their website before your visit. Be aware that real fairies hang out in this Valley. You never know when you’ll see one.

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