Mount Rushmore National Memorial was carved in the granite core of the Black Hills during the years of October 4, 1927 and October 31, 1941 by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum and a crew of 400. The colossal 60-foot carvings of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were chosen to represent the first 150 years of American history. These presidents were selected by Borglum because of their role in founding, preserving and expanding the new republic of the United States of America's territory.
A brand new 2,000-seat amphitheater was also installed in 1997, below the main viewing terraces. There the spectacular evening lighting ceremony of Mount Rushmore begins. A ranger begins the prohram with an inspiring speech and then a 20 minute movie about the mountain's and our nation's history is shown.
Then, with the strains of the "Star Spangled Banner" in the background, huge floodlights dramatically reveal the four presidential faces, stark white against the black, starry Dakota sky. Veterans of all the US military services are invited up on the amphitheater's stage to lower the American flag at the close of the ceremony.
The Mount Rushmore Memorial is visited by almost three million visitors every year from all across the country and around the world. It was a sight I'll never forget!
click on to enlarge the collage
The Crazy Horse Memorial is located 17 mils souhtwest of Mount Rushmore and is a work still in progress and when finished will be the world's largest sculpture. It was the work of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski from 1948 until he died in 1982. His wife and family have continued with the project and are working with the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation to complete it. When finished, Crazy Horse will stand 641 feet long and 563 feet high!
The memorial is a representation of the Native American Lakota leader Crazy Horse, who was chosen to represent all North American Indians. The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation founded in 1948. hopes to be an official repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and by ultimately establishing and operating a university and medical training center for Native Americans.
As of now only the face of Crazy Horse has been completed, but the white model of the chief sitting on his stallion pointing to his lands represent is how the massive mountain scuplture will look upon completion -- also very awe inspiring!
Of course the best part about of the beginning of our vacation was our visiting our sweet little grandson first! He is growing so big! We would be seeing him again at the end of our trip, and that thought kept me happy throughout our sightseeing trip in South Dakota and Wyoming.
I am linking this post to Mary's blog My Little Red House as part of her Monday Mosaic group. Please look at Mary's blog today to see links to other creative and beautiful photo mosaics!
I'll be showing more of our wonderful "Wild West" vacation adventure in future blog posts over the next week -- I hope you'll come back for a visit