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Front Page » November 20, 2007 » Local News » A Place to Remember
Published 3,383 days ago

A Place to Remember

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Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon and Mike Mower from the governor's office meets with family members and artists on the site of the memorial for Crandall Canyon miners. The site is the small rest area on the way up Huntington Canyon.

Plans are underway for a miners memorial to commemorate those coal miners who lost their lives in the Crandall Canyon mine disaster.

Mike Mower, from the governor's office was in Huntington last week to help begin the process of a monument selection.

Mower said an anonymous donor has contributed $100,000 to get the ball rolling on the memorial. Mower and Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon want everyone to know that is a beginning figure and any and all donations will be accepted from anyone wishing to contribute to the building of a memorial. There is also talk of a commemorative coin which could be minted and sold to help with the costs of the memorial.

It became clear at the onset of the meeting that two monuments will be constructed. The site chosen for the public memorial will be on SR-31 at the small rest area already in existence by the Huntington cemetery. There is also a need for a more private setting near Crandall Canyon.

Official approval will need to be gained for this site from the United States Forest Service and Sen. Robert Bennett's office volunteered to seek that approval.

The site along the Crandall Canyon will provide a more private, reflective location for family members to go and remember their loved ones.

Mower said, "Our goal today is to meet on an informal basis and get a feel for what we should do to immortalize the Crandall Canyon men. Governor Jon Huntsman wishes the monument to be a focal point to bring people together."

Huntington City owns the property where the rest area is and the group left the city hall to meet on site at the rest area. Mayor Gordon and Mower showed the spot where there is a small hill and would make a good location for the memorial.

Artist Eldon Holmes presents a small prototype of his idea for a monument for the Crandall Canyon miners.

Bob Murray from UtahAmerican Energy, Inc. has also pledged his monetary support for the monument construction.

After the on site meeting the group of family members and officials met back at the city hall for the artist presentations. Four artists were represented this day including Karen Templeton from Helper, Elise Lazar from Salt Lake, Gary Prazen from Price and Eldon Holmes from Huntington.

It was determined that the monument project would proceed as one project with two locations. All donations will go into a fund for the project as a whole.

Lazar was the first artist to present, she said it was an honor to be here and she was riveted and anguished by the events at Crandall Canyon. She recently returned from a trip to Poland where she saw a monument the community had put together with shards of tombstones from those who had lost their lives in the concentration camps.

Lazar said she is a community artist and would like to involve the community in the monument construction process. She has worked with the school children in Salt Lake where they used recycled ornaments to create an art project. She also worked in Oakland, Calif. with at risk kids to create a mosaic, tile wall. She works mainly in glass, ceramic and stone tile mediums. She helped the people of Gunnison create a wall as part of a community project. She likes to involve the community in the creation process and getting the monument completed. She envisioned a monument which is a sacred space. It would stand 8 feet tall with sloping sides. It would be of natural stone and black stone. The names of the miners would be chiseled on the stone along with the names of the rescuers. She envisioned the grout of the monument being made with actual coal and places in the wall where messages could be inserted into the rock. In Jerusalem there is a wailing wall where messages and prayers are inserted into the wall. Lazar said copper tubes could be placed throughout the wall in Huntington for the insertion of messages which would then fall inside the monument itself. She said a white gravel walkway would lead up to the monument.

Templeton was the next artist to present she said she is a portrait sculptor. Her idea was a large monument with a concrete base and a bronze panel. Along the bronze panel would be portrait sculptures of each of the miners who died. These sculptures would be touchable and put a face to the names of the miners. Templeton also proposed a commemorative medallion which could be used as a fund raiser for the monument and also to create a yearly award to be given for mine safety and those involved in making mines a safer place to work.

Prazen said he has specialized in mining sculptures and recently completed the soldier for the new Veteran's memorial in Castle Dale. He showed sketches he created for his idea for the monument. He proposed a large granite monument with a bronze plaque explaining what happened at Crandall Canyon. The names of all the miners would be listed on the monument. On the top of the monument would be a large modern day coal miner made from bronze.

Holmes shared his ideas for a monument. The bronze and granite sculpture would have a fallen miner on the ground in his mining clothes and then subsequent sculptures would show the miner arising and then at the end of the monument would transition into an angel without earthly bonds. Each individual miner would be full or half life size and the entire monument would be approximately 28 feet long and 12 feet high. The miners names would be on the back of the monument.

Mower said all of the presentations were great ideas. He instructed the artists to compile some proposals with costs and a timeline for completion to be presented at the next meeting on Nov. 30.

Artist Elise Lazar shows a sample of her work.

The contract will be awarded over the winter months.

It was also mentioned that artists can work together on projects and it will be determined if this is possible.

David Litvin of the Utah Mining Association mentioned previously they would like to make a donation for the memorial also.

Another fund raising suggestion was to sell bricks with the name of the purchaser on the brick and going into the monument in some form.

Mower said that state money is not being used for the monument, so the project doesn't need to go out for bids and doesn't need to be opened up for statewide proposals or anything of that kind.

Sheriff LaMar Guymon said he believes the community will want to be involved in the project and will make donations. Any donations for the project can be brought to Huntington city hall.

Mower said the governor wants the memorial project to be based on what the families want and how they wish to remember their loved ones.

Mower said as they work together on the project he knows there will be many opinions. The proposals will be voted on to reach a consensus. Each family will receive one vote, the governor one vote and Huntington City will have one vote.

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