Workers stand next to the Father Brown’s Cross after they reinstalled it at an overlook site on Mount Roberts on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Hugo Miramontes)

Workers stand next to the Father Brown’s Cross after they reinstalled it at an overlook site on Mount Roberts on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Hugo Miramontes)

Father Brown’s Cross is resurrected on Mount Roberts after winter collapse

Five workers put landmark back into place; possibility of new cross next year being discussed.

The Father Brown’s Cross is standing again on Mount Roberts after five construction workers spent Wednesday morning digging a new hole to secure the 16-foot-high landmark after it collapsed during the winter.

“We’ve been talking about just getting some people and putting up the cross, and today was just a good day for them,” said Hugo Miramontes, owner of Miramontes Construction. “So some of my guys and I went up there early this morning, and dug a hole, and put it back in place.”

Workers lift the Father Brown’s Cross into a newly dug hole on Mount Roberts on Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Hugo Miramontes)

Workers lift the Father Brown’s Cross into a newly dug hole on Mount Roberts on Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Hugo Miramontes)

The cross erected as a tribute to Father Edward Brown, who led a group of volunteers in a two-year project that began in 1906 establishing a trail to the peak of the mountain, is a decades-old replacement (and possibly among more than one) for the original cross erected on a date that is elusive to historians. It collapsed early this year after being assailed by heavy snow and winds.

[Crossed off: Famous Mount Roberts cross lies flat]

Miramontes said he went to the ridge where the cross has long stood, about halfway up the mountain above the Goldbelt Tram, three days ago to evaluate the site and the condition of the cross that has been at the location since it fell. He estimates about a 30-inch section broke off at the base when it fell, but a three-foot-deep hole was sufficient to secure the cross back in place — which took some heavy lifting by his employees.

“It took five of us to stand it up,” he said. “It’s a good 500 pounds, I would say.”

The workers headed to the site shortly after 7 a.m. — aided by a free lift aboard the Goldbelt Tram — and finished resurrecting the cross by about 10 a.m., Miramontes said.

The Father Brown’s Cross shortly before workers on Wednesday place it back in the ground on Mount Roberts where the cross has stood for decades. (Photo courtesy of Hugo Miramontes)

The Father Brown’s Cross shortly before workers on Wednesday place it back in the ground on Mount Roberts where the cross has stood for decades. (Photo courtesy of Hugo Miramontes)

He said he moved to Juneau in 1997 and the cross is one of the first notable landmarks he saw.

“When I came here to Juneau one of the first places that I visited was Mount Roberts,” he said. “I went up the tram with some family and I’m pretty sure that I got some pictures of standing right next to the cross.”

Miramontes said he didn’t know the cross had collapsed until he saw a social media post about it some weeks ago. One possibility raised during the process of putting the cross back in place is installing a new one that can weather many future years in a far more secure base of concrete.

“By building a bigger one we’re hoping that we can go a little deeper and maybe stronger,” he said. “So there’s already some talks about hopefully putting something together for next spring and then bringing up a new cross made of similar material or the same stuff.”

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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