This Labor Day weekend, we made a family road trip to The Badlands in South Dakota. Both daughters, Susan and Nicola, joined us for the trip. Susan is on vacation from Belgium. We made a day trip to the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse memorials in the Black Hills.
Walking towards the memorial, we passed by a sculpture of Gatzon Borglum. He directed the efforts of a few hundred workers in creating the sculpture of Mount Rushmore.
Nicola posed for photographs in front of the memorial.
We spent some time at the Visitor’s Center before attending a guided tour by one of the Park Rangers. Here is a reflection of the four Presidents in the Visitor Center windows — Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
During the tour our guide described the history of the Memorial and the reason why each President was chosen for this memorial. “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” – Gutzon Borglum. Our tour guide explained the role each President played with reference to the United States and the Declaration of Independence — a very inspiring presentation.
After the conclusion of the tour, we attended another presentation in the Artist’s Studio, where another Park Ranger described how the memorial was sculpted and showed us the original tools that were used. The studio contained a model of the sculpture that was scaled to the final dimensions. The Presidents may be seen through the window in the studio. At the right, the model’s figure of George Washington is barely visible in the shadows.
Walking back to the terrace, I captured this image of Abraham Lincoln through the trees.
Mount Rushmore is composed of granite. The Grand View Terrace, Amphitheater and other buildings in the complex are also composed of granite. Here is the detail of the pillars behind the terrace.
An avenue of flags leads up to the terrace. It took me a while to find the Colorado flag — it was on the last pillar as we were leaving. The flags of Arkansas, California and Connecticut were also mounted to the same pillar.
Angela had rushed ahead by now. Here she is after searching for a possible source of food!
After a picnic lunch, we made our way to the Crazy Horse Memorial, where we spent a few hours learning about Crazy Horse and the history of the Native American people. This memorial is dedicated to the the Crazy Horse, one of the Native American heroes. Like Mount Rushmore, this memorial is being blasted from granite. The model illustrates the finished result. It will be several years before this memorial is complete. Crazy Horse’s face is complete, and work is proceeding with the figure of the horse.
We all enjoyed the visit to both memorials and learned from the experience of the visit.