10 years for Prospector statue
Daughter of George Fisher recalls how he envisioned, advocated his idea
Ten years ago, June 25, 1999, saw the dedication of the 9-1/2-foot-tall bronze statue of a prospector with his burro gazing toward the mountains from
the city's grassy-knoll park at the northwest corner of 21st Street and Highway 24. The ceremony culminated the vision of the late George Fisher, a
Colorado Springs resident who himself had been a prospector with his own mine in South Park.
An inside-the-family recounting of what led to the statue's creation is provided below by Fisher's daughter, Laura Ettinger.
Many articles have been written about the Prospector sculpture that stands so proudly at the corner of Highway 24 and 21st Street. My father, George Fisher, was its creator. My daddy and stepmother Betty were visiting my family and me in California when he told me of a vision that had come to him one night. In the vision stood a large prospector and his burro with all the tools needed to prospect.
My dad stated that this was “not just a dream, but more like an out-of-body experience.” He felt that he had to see this through to completion.
Dad formed a foundation, Prospector Inc., and a search was started for a site location, a sculptor and (of course) financing. My dad selected the location, where it now stands, and the city Art Commission approved Cloyd Barnes for his impeccable work. Dad told me a story where he wanted a beard on the man and Cloyd didn't. It was finally settled when my dad said, “You either put a beard on him or I'll find someone else to do the work.”
Financing ($120,000) was accomplished by donations and selling smaller versions of the statue (14 and 27 inches high), called maquetes.
On Nov. 27, 1998, Dad was so excited to go to Denver to see the progress. A picture was taken of him holding the wax mold of the prospector's rifle. I have that rifle now. Cloyd was kind enough to give it to me. At the time, Dad had prostate cancer. Just four short months later, March 29, 1999, the day they broke ground to build the base of the statue, he died. He was 79.
He never got to see his vision come true, but he died knowing it was going to happen.
He had asked for no flowers at his funeral. Instead he wanted contributions to the Prospector fund. And enough came in to finish paying off the costs. As his daughter, I wanted to do something nice for anyone who contributed, so I had coffee mugs made with the statue on one side and, on the other side, my dad's name and birth and death dates.
Please go to the statue and read the inscriptions on the plaque and know that it honors all prospectors, not just miners, but those in any field.
Thank you for reading this. Respectfully submitted by Laura (Fisher) Ettinger.
Edited by the Westside Pioneer