Charles Steen (1919-2006)
Jun 25, 2009 | 1747 views | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the 1960s, Charlie Steen (right) and Mitch Melich stand by barrels of yellow cake at the Atlas Uranium Mill processing plant north of Moab. Photo courtesy of Museum of Moab
In the 1960s, Charlie Steen (right) and Mitch Melich stand by barrels of yellow cake at the Atlas Uranium Mill processing plant north of Moab. Photo courtesy of Museum of Moab
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Though Charles Steen’s first years in the Moab area were spent living with his family in a tarpaper shack in Cisco, his luck soon turned around. In 1952, the geologist hit the mother lode when he discovered a large deposit of uranium southeast of Moab.

Through his Mi Vida mine, Steen made millions and single-handedly set off Moab’s uranium boom. During that time, Steen built many of Moab’s homes and schools and even donated $50,000 toward the construction of a new hospital.

For years, he enjoyed being one of the Moab’s most famous characters.

Steen eventually moved on to a short stint in politics in the late 1950s. He was quickly disenchanted with the Utah State Senate and resigned in 1961.

Steen later moved to Reno, Nev., and by 1968, a series of bad investments left him penniless, and he filed for bankruptcy. When he died, years later in Colorado, he was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

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