A few years ago, on one of our tours of the USA, we found ourselves in South Dakota. As our travels are fluid (very) we (I) thought it would be a terrific idea to visit the the Black Hills of Dakota and in particular Mount Rushmore. Although having heard so much about these sculptures I was unsure as to exactly what we would find.
On nearing the site, up a winding road, you could not escape the fact that this was a large venue. Parking was vast, fortunately we were early and could park near the entrance. As usual it was a very slick affair with an informative and well presented museum and ticket area.
Then, out through the doors and directly in front was the four carved heads of previous Presidents of the USA. Now that makes you stop a while.
Below is a paragraph taken from the History.com site on the web :-
” The southeastern face of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest is the site of four gigantic carved sculptures depicting the faces of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Led by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum, work on the project began in 1927 and was finally completed in 1941. Over that time period, some 400 workers erected the sculpture under dangerous conditions, removing a total of 450,000 tons of rock in order to create the enormous carved heads, each of which reached a height of 60 feet (18 meters). In sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s original design, the four presidents were meant to be represented from the waist up, but insufficient funding brought the carving to a halt after completion of their faces. Known as the “Shrine of Democracy,” Mount Rushmore welcomes upwards of 2 million visitors every year, and is one of America’s most popular tourist attractions.”
Impressive and as monumental as this site was we had done our research and realise that there was another “similar” structure nearby. So off we set for a 30min drive to our next destination.
Still in South Dakota we arrived at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Now this was a different set up completely. Not as slick but more welcoming and informative. Lots of artefacts and American History laid out in a very professional way.
Having just left, what I felt was, a massive structure we are now presented with a “mountain” that is being transformed, albeit slowly, into a single memorial to North American Indians.
I add this shot to try and show the stage at present, in the background, with the vision of the completed memorial. Believe me this is much bigger than Mount Rushmore!
Again I add information from crazyhorsememorial.org
Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.
” Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation demonstrates its ongoing commitment to this promise by following these objectives:
- Continuing the progress on the world’s largest mountain sculpture, carving a memorial to the spirit of legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse and his culture;
- Providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations;
- Acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and the NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL & CULTURAL CENTER®
- And by establishing and operating the INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians “
We have found many incredible natural wonders around almost every bend throughout the USA during our travels. These two “man made” wonders are right up there with them. They actually take your breath away.