SALT LAKE CITY — A piece of Utah history is now part of a downtown art installation instead of being melted down for rebar.
In the early 1900s, a set of four gantry beams formed part of a crane that locomotive technicians with Rio Grande and Union Pacific used when they were servicing trains.
The other three beams were recycled as material for rebar, but local man Steve Price thought the last one deserved a different fate. He worked with state agencies, contractors and a local sculptor to find a new home and purpose for the beam.
"When we saw this beam, we knew that this beam had serviced thousands of locomotives and brought hundreds of thousands of people west, and built the West, really, through the 50s," Price said. "So, we knew that that beam needed to have a second life. It could not be melted down."
The beam will now serve as a pedestal for a statue of a raven holding a Rio Grande cap in its beak. Price hopes the art installation, at 470 S 900 E in Salt Lake City, will inspire and enlighten people.
“I will say, one concept that guided my process, and frankly made me keep going through the regulatory process, was a belief in the power of art. I know the inspiration we receive through art brings out our humanity and enlightens us. Humanity is something we are very much in need of today," Price said in a news release.