You are here

John C. Fremont Sculpture Dedicated

Artist Sheldon Roberts is pictured below his John C. Fremont sculpture at Pathfinder Park during Saturday's dedication ceremony. Joining in celebrating the completion of the historical piece are (left to right:) Canon City Recreation District Director Jim Hoar; County Commissioner Ed Norden; Roberts, County Commissioner Tim Payne; & Recreation District Board President Mike Smith

A crowd of 100 Fremont County residents gathered under sunny skies last Saturday morning to dedicate the new John C. Fremont sculpture erected in the center of the roundabout at Pathfinder Regional Park west of Florence.   The project was jointly commissioned by the Cañon City Recreation and Park District and the Fremont County Board of Commissioners.

District 3 Commissioner Ed Norden said when Pathfinder Park was created he had always hoped that a piece of art reflecting Fremont County’s heritage could be erected in the entryway.   Norden also said he had wondered for many years why Fremont County never offered any formal recognition of the county’s namesake, John C. Fremont.    Norden said they initially approached artist Sheldon Roberts about doing a large tree carving in the roundabout.   Roberts said he suggested a Fremont sculpture in metal so it would last longer without a lot of costly annual maintenance.   Roberts said he also wanted to make sure he erected a sculpture large enough to make an impression on traffic passing by on Highway 115.

The County and the Recreation District committed a total of $5,000 for the artwork and told Roberts it would be up to him to raise the balance of the $20,000 project.   Norden said they worked cooperatively with Roberts to raise the extra money and in fact raised over $30,000.   Norden said what impressed him most was the number of people who stepped forth wanting to be part of the historical project by donating money.

Two of the significant contributors to the project were in the audience.   Penny Roberts represented the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine and said she was quite impressed with the artwork.   She said the gold mine is proud to be part of such an historical project in Fremont County.    Siloam Stone was also a major contributor donating the large boulders and the stone foundation on which the metal sculpture was erected.   Brad Mueller said they took care to select stone for the foundation which was in harmony with native stone and cliffs around the park.  He said the stone foundation weighs 33,000 pounds.

Recreation District Board President Mike Smith said it was not that many years ago in 2005 when a crowd gathered to dedicate the opening of Pathfinder Park itself.   He said with the dedication of the sculpture we can now look towards the day when the community perhaps can dedicate new baseball and softball fields along with completed 4-H fairgrounds.

District 1 Commissioner Tim Payne also commended the work of the Fremont County Heritage Commission which guided Sheldon Roberts in the final artistic design of the historical piece of art.   Payne also praised the Rec District crews which worked to finish the landscaping of the roundabout which accents the artwork.

Roberts will be working closely with the Recreation District to set up the lighting in the roundabout so that it brings out the appropriate nighttime highlights of the John C. Fremont sculpture.

An interpretive panel detailing John C. Fremont's explorations in Fremont County and the western U.S. is part of the Fremont Sculpture Display at Pathfinder Park (click on photo to enlarge)

A second pedestal erected as part of the Fremont sculpture display lists the names of artist Sheldon Roberts and his crew along with the many residents of Fremont County who contributed monetarily or through in-kind donations to the project.  (click on photo to enlarge)