Silverton's fortunes fell to an all-time low in the 1950s when the D&RG suspended year-round operations to become a summer-only passenger operation and the Shenandoah-Dives, the largest mine in the county, closed. Rather than mourn their unemployment, members of the Catholic Men's Club at St. Patrick's Church and Father Joseph Halloran undertook this shrine. The county donated the site and volunteers used old stone from Charles Fischer's abandoned Silverton
The whole town donated labor, supplies, and money to buy and install the 5-ton, 12-foot-high Carrara marble Christ, with arms uplifted to bless Silverton and its mines. Shortly after the shrine's 1959 dedication, the Standard Metals Corporation reopened the Sunnyside Mine, and Florida citrus baron Charles Bradshaw revived the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which has been Silverton's lifeline since its construction in 1882.