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.