Since 1945, when the aggregate plant ceased operations, the remaining structure has become known locally as THE MONOLITH.
ARTIST BUSTER SIMPSON WAS COMMISSIONED in 2000, by Turtle Bay Exploration Park, to creatively engage with the aggregate plant. Simpson saw the historic relic as both a ready-made sculpture and a monument. He responded to the layers of natural and human events and the significant connections between the Sacramento River and Shasta Dam by developing conceptual installations using utilitarian materials to relay stories of the people and place. The project's name, THE MONOLITH, carries forward local history.
Simpson envisions the Monolith itself to eventually act as a large pedestal support for a power-generating sculpture formed to resemble Shasta Dam's north face. This sculptural photovoltaic panel array, called Solar Shasta, is a gift to the future. As both the dam and aggregate plant exemplify an elegant design derived from function and purpose, the arched design of Solar Shasta maximizes sun gain throughout the day, gathering light instead of water.
From the same gravel beds that built Shasta Dam, salmon also spawn. With the Monolith's solar augmentation, a hope persists that migrating salmon will have renewed opportunities to make the journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Sacramento River.