“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature
may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” — John Muir
Day 7 of this Interlude will find you in awe of what man and nature can create in tandem. Mount Rushmore is in a word…AWESOME! Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, which was completed under the direction of Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum between 1927–1941. The massive sculpture’s roughly 60-ft.-high granite faces depict U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Known as “The Shrine of Democracy”, over 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. To carve the four presidential heads into the face of Mount Rushmore, Borglum utilized new methods involving dynamite and pneumatic hammers to blast through a large amount of rock quickly, in addition to the more traditional tools of drills and chisels.
What I discovered is that the original design was meant to represent the four presidents from the waist up, but due to insufficient funding, the carvings were brought to a halt after the completion of their faces. Welcoming upwards of 2 million visitors every year, Mt. Rushmore and the surrounding area is one of America’s most popular tourist attractions and you will be among them.
Mount Rushmore is located just north of Custer State Park in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest and was named for the New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore, who traveled to the Black Hills in 1884 to inspect mining claims in the region. When Rushmore asked a local man the name of a nearby mountain, he reportedly replied that it never had a name before, but from now on would be known as Rushmore Peak (later Rushmore Mountain or Mount Rushmore). I had no idea – did you?
I also found it interesting that there was a bill introduced in Congress in 1937 proposing that a carving of Susan B. Anthony’s head be included among the luminaries at Mount Rushmore, but it fell through due to a rider on the existing appropriations bill mandating that federal funds be spent only on those carvings already begun.
A fascinating beginning found South Dakota’s state historian looking for ways to attract tourism to the Black Hills in the early 1920s. He came up with the idea to sculpt “the Needles” (several giant natural granite pillars) into the shape of historic heroes of the West. He suggested Red Cloud, a Sioux chief, as a potential subject. In August 1924, Robinson contacted Gutzon Borglum, an American sculptor of Danish descent, Borglum suggested that the subjects of the work be George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as that would attract more national interest. He later added Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt in recognition of their contributions to the birth of democracy and the growth of the United States.
You will also be visiting the Crazy Horse Memorial, still in progress, on this guided vacation. Located in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills, the Mountain is 6,532 feet and ranks 27th highest mountain in South Dakota. It is made of pegmatite granite and was chosen by Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski & Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear for the Crazy Horse Memorial. With the mission to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians. The Foundation demonstrates its commitment to this endeavor by following these objectives:
- Continuing the progress on the world’s largest sculptural undertaking by carving a Memorial of Lakota leader Crazy Horse;
- 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®;
- Establishing and operating the INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.
Please read the complete itinerary of this Yellowstone & Mount Rushmore Vacation and be prepared to be carried away by the majesty and beauty of the sights and sounds representing the best of the west.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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