‘Cannon’ still standing

Aspen Times Staff
Workers will tear down the 153-foot device that fired off the ashes of the late Hunter S. Thompson over the next few weeks. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

The “cannon” that shot the ashes of the late Hunter S. Thompson into the air above Woody Creek on Saturday night is expected to be up for another couple of weeks, according to the man who designed and oversaw construction of the device.

Steve Cohn, who said he has been the “personal construction manager” for actor Johnny Depp for a dozen years, said Monday that he and his Cohn Construction Management crew had returned to San Diego to rest after the project.He had been in the Aspen area for a month and a half planning and building the structure before the bombastic farewell, a celebration and memorial service that lasted nearly 12 hours, from 6 p.m. Saturday to around 5 a.m. Sunday, according to participants.

Cohn said he and his crew will return to the Roaring Fork Valley this weekend; dismantling of the tower is expected to commence some time next week.The tower is visible from Highway 82, McLain Flats Road and other points around the upper valley. It is a steel cylinder tapered toward the top formed around the framework of a crane boom. It reaches 153 feet above the field behind Thompson’s Owl Farm, which makes it roughly 2 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, as measured from the top of Liberty’s base to the tip of the torch.

The tower is topped with Thompson’s infamous emblem, a dagger with a double-thumbed fist clenched around a peyote button as the hilt. It is the fiberglass fist that formed the platform and framework for the device, similar to a fireworks launcher, that propelled the writer’s ashes skyward.The cost of the entire event, reported to be about $2.5 million (not $4 million, as previously reported in The Aspen Times) was borne by Depp, a longtime friend of Thompson who portrayed the writer in the film version of Thompson’s seminal book, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”


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