Magazine article Insight on the News

Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Are Beter and Bigger Than Ever

Magazine article Insight on the News

Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Are Beter and Bigger Than Ever

Article excerpt

This is a tale of two monuments. One is world famous; the other struggles for recognition. One has been completed for more than 50 years; the other remains incomplete, even after 50 years of work. Both are found in the Black Hills of South Dakota: home to Mount Rushmore, with its famed profiles of four presidents, and the Crazy Horse Memorial, a mountain being carved into the form of the Lakota Indian chief astride his horse.

The Mount Rushmore monument is as big as the men it immortalizes, a revered national treasure and one of the nation's top tourist destinations. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum envisioned huge stone faces that could be seen for miles, a symbol of the drive and determination that made America great. Borglum picked the four men he most admired: George Washington, the father of the country; Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator; Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence; and Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider and staunch conservationist.

Borglum began the project in 1927 and worked until his death in 1941 without completing it. Thus the Mount Rushmore monument remains unfinished and probably will never be completed. Borglum had envisioned carving the characters to the waist -- each figure would have stood 465 feet tall; their heads alone are 60 feet -- and wanted to establish an underground museum behind the faces chronicling the history of the United States.

Fortunately, the federal government made parkland of the surrounding Black Hills, protecting the Borglum sculpture -- even if, at the moment, the monument looks more like a construction site than a memorial. A $50 million improvement program will feature, when finished by 1998, movie theaters and a museum. The park, including the restaurant, snack bar and souvenir shops, remains open during the construction project, as is Borglum's studio, with the sculptor's drills, chisels, swing seats and other tools.

Admission to Mount Rushmore is free. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., but it is wise to arrive early when the light is best. The entire lighted in an impressive ceremony at 9 P.M.

Like Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument on Thunderhead Mountain is the dream of a sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, but it has been carried on by his sons and daughters. …

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