Spirit of the CCC 1935
“Born in Finland, Kangas was himself an enrollee of the Civilian Conservation Corps and originally created this figure, a young man stripped to the waist holding a shovel, for the CCC camp at Griffith Park.”
The original statue “Spirit of the CCC” by John Palo Kangas was recently replaced by an updated bronze copy:
“The first statue ever produced in honor of the CCC was a statue titled “Spirit of the CCC,” also known as “Iron Mike.” A Works Progress Administration (WPA) sculptor, Uno John Palokangas (known as John Palo-Kangas), designed the statue and made a ten-foot tall statue. A model was constructed of plaster of Paris. The final statue was made out of concrete. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the statue on October 1, 1935 at CCC Company 1917 in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California.
“Spirit of the CCC”, California Chapter 55 of NACCCA, initiated the drive for a replacement bronze statue supported by Chapters 34 and 65. Over $26,000 was donated by members of the NACCCA. The bronze statue was made by Jim Brothers a sculptor in Lawrence, Kansas
The new version of the “Iron Mike” statue was dedicated on October 1, 1993. The statue again stands at Griffith Park, but this time is made of sturdy bronze. The NACCCA anticipates it will be there in memorial to the CCC for many years to come. The excitement of the dedication led to the design, construction and dedication of a new series of statues. The new series of statues known as the CCC Workers Statue dot the American landscape in tribute to the men of the CCC.”
The author made another, slightly larger version of the statue for the 1936 World’s Fair in Balboa Park. That statue was later destroyed.
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