Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Monday, September 5th - We continued north from Hot Springs (US385), then to SR244 to Crazy Horse Memorial Monument and to Mount Rushmore National Memorial monument.

The admission was $11 per vehicle. After finding a nice spot (away from all other cars, especially those gas-guzzling SUVs with big, wide doors) for the Mustang, we walked from the parking lot, up the steps, down the Avenue of Flags, toward the Monument.
It was a beautiful sunny and comfortable day - such the day that made me feel so blessed to be alive, sort-of in good health, proud to be an "interesting" American and to be living in America!

At the memorial, there are many facilities including Carvers Cafe & Gift Shop, the Mount Rushmore Bookstore, the Sculptor's Studio (on-site studio for sculptor Gutzon Borglum but only open during the summer season), and Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center. Lincoln continued the work after his father died in 1941. Once again due to the tight schedule, we had to skip the 1/2 mile trail that would take visitors to the base of the mountain for a closer look at the monument.

Looking up at the 60-foot heads of the four U.S. Presidents on a 5,675-foot granite peak, I was a bit surprised that the monument was not as big as I have imagined. The carving began in 1927. George Washington's head was finished in 1930, next were Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and the last head of Theodore Roosevelt was finished in 1941. Thomas Jefferson's head was supposed to be on the right side of George Washington. Workers cut the stone, but it was not strong enough for the sculpture and had to be blasted away. The 2nd try placed Jefferson's head on the left side of Washington.
"... let us place there, carved high, as close as heaven as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were. Then breathe a prayer that these records will endure until the wind and rain alone shall wear them away." Gutzon Borglum, Mount Rushmore Sculptor, 1930.

When I saw the motorcycles (below photo), a thought came to my mind, what would these presidents, WJRL, prefered as mode of transportation, motorcycles or the Mustang? (The readers probably are thinking, "TOTA, you sure have weird thoughts!") I would guess that Washington would drive the Mustang for comfort and because he was a rather serious and proper individual.

Jefferson would drive the motorcycle because it would allow him to explore the surrounding (or checking what Lewis and Clark missed). Roosevelt also would ride the Harley being that he was an avid outdoor man. Mr. Lincoln himself would have to be in the T-bird with the top down to accomodate his tall hat - haa haa.

We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Don "Nick" Clifford (his wife Carolyn was standing next to him in the above photo) who was one of Mount Rushmore workers from 1938-1940. Mr. Clifford worked as a driller. Dangling in mid-air, the drillers used jackhammers to drill holes in the side of the mountain. They hung on to the drills while chipping away the stone (back then there was no agency called OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration - to enforce safety on the job sites). Next to Mr. Clifford was the honeycomb rock that carvers made small holes in the rock so they could carve details.

I bought two copies, one for myself and one to send to my nephew, JL. I thought the book would be an educational item for JL than another t-shirt or something that was mass-produced in China!

1 comment:

Nonna Beach said...

Wonderful and informative post and one of the many places you all have visited that my Hubs and me want to visit when he retires...thank you so much for the great sneak peek !


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