Newest Legends statue tells story of Chet Enstrom in downtown Grand Junction
Downtown Grand Junction’s newest sculpture — a towering, bronze creation depicting Chet and Vernie Enstrom, founders of Enstrom Candies — was installed early Thursday morning, Sept. 25, on the southwest corner of Seventh and Main streets near the newly improved Avalon Theatre.
A variety of spectators watched and participated in the installation process, including the artist — Karen Jobe Templeton of Helper, Utah — and members of the Legends of the Grand Valley committee, including Miffie Blozvich and Ken Johnson.
According to a Legends of the Grand Valley news release, the group chose to depict Enstrom Candies’ founders in bronze as they were both active community leaders. Chet was a businessman, candy maker and Colorado senator, while Vernie played a large role in business development. And their legacy still lives on today as a family-run business in the heart of Grand Junction.
“They’re incredible to work with and I’ve never had a better experience working with a group of people to create art,” Templeton said, who started creating the “Mixing a Legacy” sculpture in October of last year.
The larger-than-life likeness of both Chet and Vernie Enstrom began as clay sculptures, the artist confirmed. Then a silicone mold was made into which bronze was poured at a foundry in Utah.
“Chet was the original concept, then I recommended a second figure because there is a lot more energy when two pieces are communicating,” she said.
The sculpture was officially unveiled on Friday, Sept. 26, and a book by Ann Enstrom Scott and Johnson — titled “Chet” — is currently for sale for $9.95 at Enstrom Candies and Grand Valley Books. It tells the story of Chet Enstrom, his candy and his family’s legacy.
Chet and Vernie’s sculpture now joins a long list of other historic figures gracing Grand Junction’s downtown. Other Legends sculptures include Dalton Trumbo, Walter Walker, William Moyer, Sister Mary Balbina Farrell, John Otto, Operation Foresight’s founders, Dale Hollingsworth, Joe Lacy and Leland Schmidt, along with the four Prinster brothers who started City Market — Clarence, Frank, Leo and Paul.
“Collectively the committee has raised close to a half-million dollars for this project over the years,” Blozvich said, which created a walking tour of Grand Junction’s leaders throughout the historic downtown area.
All statues sponsored from the Legends committee incorporates storytelling elements, she added, as a way to educate the community as well as entertain.
Legends of the Grand Valley’s committee, made up of all volunteers, will meet soon to discuss what’s next on tap for the group.
“It’s still up in the air,” Blozvich noted.
For more information about the Legends committee and its sculptures, visit http://www.gjarts.org.
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Independence Pass opened just before 2 p.m. Friday after closing earlier this week because of a series of snowstorms, a Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman said Friday.