Steve Canyon: The Statue

By | Tuesday, June 22, 2021 Leave a Comment
Founded by prospectors in 1859, Idaho Springs, Colorado the center of the region's mining district throughout the late nineteenth century. In 1947, the town of one square mile (with a current population under 2,000) decided to rename a nearby mountain canyon after one Milton Canniff's comic strip characters, Steve Canyon. I can't seem to find a solid reason why; the only explanation I can find at all is a snarky comment about being "awash in post-WWII patriotism."

Two years later, they paid $12,000 to have a ten-foot tall, limestone statue of the character carved for the center of town. It was officially dedicated on July 8, 1950 and Milton Canniff was in attendance, although he had had nothing to do with the statue's inception and/or creation. Also in attendance were Walter W. Johnson, (Governor, Colorado), L.P. Giles (Mayor, Idaho Springs), William Riley (President, Indiana Limestone Company), and Vernon Clark (U.S. Treasury Deptartment). The plaque mounted on the base reads, in part, "The United States Treasury salutes Steve Canyon and through him, all American cartoon characters who serve the Nation."

In 1959, Canniff visited the state one more time along with Dean Fredericks, who portrayed Steve Canyon on the television show of the same name. Presumably, this was done as a marketing push for the show, which debuted in late 1958.

The statue appears to be maintained well; however, I can't find any reference to it at all on Idaho Springs' web site. Which suggests that perhaps it's not as significant a point of pride now as it used to be. Which isn't surprising given that the strip ended in 1988 when Canniff died. The statue was moved a tenth of a mile up the road to a park in 2017, but still stands.
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