A labyrinth has become the latest feature along Salisbury’s Riverwalk, designed to promote peace and conflict resolution as walkers on the maze-like design focus on calm and enjoy the river views.
The project was designed to mark the Rotary Club of Salisbury’s 100th anniversary in 2020, George Whitehead, chairman of the centennial committee, told a crowd gathered for a dedication at the site last week. Its opening was delayed two years by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Promoting peace is one of Rotary’s focus areas and the Salisbury club wanted a visible representation.
“These days, it’s something we all need to reflect on,” Whitehead said.
The Rotary Club began looking for a centennial project back in 2015 and worked with the city to identify a suitable space, he said. Finith Jurnigan, an architect and Rotarian, suggested a labyrinth and then designed it after one in Chartres Cathedral in France.
At Chartres, worshipers follow a single path through a circuitous design on the floor, stopping to meditate or pray at points along the way.
City Administrator Julia Glanz said she has visited the labyrinth during her lunch hour to clear her head.
“It is the perfect place to reflect on the beauty of Salisbury,” she said.
Whitehead said his group later discovered five other Rotary Clubs around the world also have sponsored labyrinths.
Salisbury’s labyrinth was placed in an open space along the Riverwalk on the northeast side of the South Division Street bridge adjacent to the former city fire station that now houses the DelmarvaNow offices.
City officials have said previously that the radius of the labyrinth is 36 feet and its circumference is 72 feet. It is constructed of flat paving stones with paths 2 feet wide with 2‐foot-wide gravel separations. In the center there is a seating area around a circular planter.
The club raised money to pay for the project through donations, an Elks Club grant and a bond bill in the Maryland General Assembly that was sponsored by Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes and former state Sen. Jim Mathias.
Mathias, who attended the dedication, called the labyrinth “a tangible place to come and seek peace.”
State Sen. Addie Eckhardt of Cambridge said she is “a fan of labyrinths,” having visited many across the country, including her favorite at the cathedral in San Francisco.
“It’s a place where we can all do a time-out,” she said. “This is a place for renewal and refreshment.”