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07/08/2012

On The Road to Mt. Rushmore

Today we visit an American treasure!

 

Mt. Rushmore began as an idea to bring sightseers to the west in the early 1900's - it ended up as so much more!

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We took the park ranger tour to get the skinny on the monument.  Gutzon Borglum was the sculpture who created this amazing work of art, but he was not the first choice!  Chicago artist Lorado Taft (you may remember his Black Hawk Statue from my "One Tank Trip" to Oregon Illinois) was originally asked by historian Doane Robinson to create this masterpiece, but Taft declined due to ailing health.

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Borglum chose Mt. Rushmore for the site of his mountain carving because the broad granite wall faced southeast and would receive maximum sunlight, and because granite was a sturdy matieral that would withold the tets of time.  In fact, the estimated erosion rate of Mt. Rushmore is 1 inch every 10-thousand years!  Spot on Mr. Borglum!

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Construction began in 1927 - it took 14 years and nearly 1-million dollars to complete.  Actually, it's not really complete!  The original design was to show each president from head to waist, but construction was stopped in 1941 due to lack of funding and America's entry into World War II.

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 You may also notice that Lincoln's head is not quite complete - it's missing an ear!

IMG_5453Borglum's son Lincoln (named after said president) supervised the completion of the heads after his father's death in 1941, but decided against having another artist add on to or change the original work, so it was left as it we know it today.

IMG_5438After taking pictures of Mt. Rushmore from every angle imaginable, we took a break and a scenic drive along Needles Highway in nearby Custer State Park - destination, the "eye of the needle!

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We rounded out the day by returning to Mt. Rushmore for the evening light show featuring a patriotic film, "Freedom - America's Lasting Legacy," and a tribute to all the service men and women who were in attendance at the evening's show.  IMG_5529

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A very moving experience that will stay with me for many years to come.  Tomorrow we head west to Wyoming!

 

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