It was obvious that little to no maintenance was performed on the sign since 1909. That condition participated the five of us organizing and working with all stakeholders to repair the sign in a more stable and lasting environment. The sign was the highlight of the town when it first went into operation.
For many years, the condition was noticed by people who wondered, “Why doesn’t the owner repair it?” That is an extremely excellent question. Most likely, there was always more important things to the city that needed to be repaired or maintained.
The “5 Guys” committee placed the sign on the mountain in late June 2018. The first time it was installed on the mountain was in 1909. As our photos show, very little happened to it except vandalism and environment damage from that day on. This December of 2019 makes 19 months since the committee of “5 Guys” returned it back to the mountain in almost new condition and the age of the sign is now 110 years old.
The project took about thirteen months from first meeting to it’s return to the mountain side. Unlike many other projects, iconic things have been taken down to be repaired and returned to their position and never returned. The determination that the “5 Guys” took this project on was insurmountable. There would be no failure. We were told the project could have taken 10 years or more to complete. We had one thing in mind, take it down, fix it, get it back up. This we did. Our goal was to do it quickly, even with any and all issues with stakeholders. There were many.
The Forestry Service, City, County, private land owner, Ouray County Commissioners, Historical Society (local and state), Dept. of Interior, private individuals, and more had to be consulted for approval. But we moved on. There were stumbling blocks from forces who opposed the things we were doing to return it to it’s original condition. In the end all was over come and “she” went back up looking beautiful. Perhaps, there is a book describing just how many obstacles were over come to repair and place the sign back on the mountain side. But then, it might just be boring to many? Five Guys living it was interesting.
July 1, 2018
The majestic lady of Ouray, the Box Cañon Sign is back. The Sign remains sentry over the Box Cañon Falls for 109 years. “Five Guys” brought her back to life.
Her history dates back to June 4, 1909. Some history on her can be found at www.boxcanonsign.com and at the Ouray Historical Society.
The sign was repaired and lighted with solar. Lief Juell of Alternative Power in Ridgway performed the solar equipment and it worked flawlessly. Jake Coulter of Coulter Construction Company took the sign down, repaired, and returned it to the mountain, Craig Hinkston, of Hinkston Construction Company assisted with the removal and replacement of the sign, and the Ouray Plaindealer provided much support on the project.
We thank the City of Ouray Mayor Pam Lawson and the City Council for the trust they gave us in repairing the sign. The Forestry Service played an important part in the permission for “Five Guys” to operate and perform services to the sign on Forest Service property. Guidance through many “hoops” (at the last minute) was thanks to Jeremy M. Karchut, Forest Archaeologist/ Heritage Program Manager Forest Service, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests and Paul Chesley. Others that we had to get approval are Ouray County Commissioners, State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Secretary of the Interior. The sign is a “historical landmark” and deserves the care and maintenance received.
From May 11, 2017 till June 29, 2018, we worked diligently not to be “bogged down” in any way or form. The entire adventure was up and down. The requirements and permits way exceeded our expectations. All we wanted to do was to repair and bring the “Grand Lady” back to life again. This is what the “Five Guys” did in an extremely short time.
One of the most momentous occasions in my life was when the sign clicked on at 9 pm Friday night, June 29th (For the second time in 109 years). There was a rebirth of life on the mountain for the first time in over sixty years. That was exciting. I know that with a little help she can survive another hundred years.
There was most likely no maintenance on the sign since it was placed on the mountain in 1909. Some maintenance, perhaps, on the sign during the early days with replacing stolen bulbs. However, I recommend that if you have the urge to steal a bulb or two… beware… if you place it in your 120 volt socket at home and turn it on. We are not responsible for the explosion. Our bulbs are 12 volt.
The other item is that there are numerous cameras on the site recording all visitors, so smile you are on candid camera. We certainly want your photo for the Sheriff, if you choose to do damage to the sign. We beg you to please respect the sign. It was up only one week and had scratched names and drawings in the paint. We will remove them as soon as they show up, but if our cameras catch you… you will remove it.
In a “nut shell” this effort was a passion the “Five Guys” had for years. Like minds got together and the rebirth was here. We do appreciate all the donations from Ouray lovers all over America (see list in this weeks Plaindealer issue).
The Box Cañon Sign Committee
Ralph McCormick – Chairman, Glynn Williams, Louis Fogleman, Mike Hakola, and Tim Walters.