Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

Arriving at the Crazy Horse Memorial Welcome Center...

A small group this evening, most of the summer crowd is gone...

Out on the back veranda, a mock-up of Crazy Horse with the...

I like this pic of my honey...

Back in the Welcome Center...

A nice Kachina collection...

I'm admiring this 2003 Indian Chief Roadmaster, they're raffling it off on...

Down the other section of the center, lots to see here...

Like these amazing samples of pottery...

Cool flags...

My honey, checking out the Memorial's progression...

Photos of Korczak & Ruth Ziolkowski at the museum...

This organ is almost 100 years old and still plays 'perfectly'...

There are some truly beautiful pieces in here, love the harp!

Portrait of a Child, by Thomas Ball, carved in Italy from Serravezza...

'Warrior', the bike of Dreamers...

Info on the bike, came from Prescott, Arizona...

The Fighting Stallions are out front...

A closer look, they are beautiful...

Show is about to start...

A wonderful laser light show every evening at dark...

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

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Today's post is on Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest mountain sculpture, located here in the Black Hills about 10 miles outside of Custer. In addition to the mountain sculpture, Crazy Horse Memorial also has a 40,000-square-foot welcome center with two theatres, and is home to the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and the Indian Museum of North America. Also on site are Ziolkowski’s log home studio and workshop, indoor and outdoor art galleries, and the museum gift shop.

Our first stop was at the theater to view the film 'Dynamite and Dreams', very well done I might add! I tried to video short portions of it to share with you so if your computer speed is reasonably fast you can check out the video links. They are all very short. We find this film so interesting we've considered purchasing it. In it Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski discusses his life and work including why he dedicated his life to carving Crazy Horse.

In 1939, Chief Standing Bear wrote a letter to Horczac Ziolkowski, an assistant sculptor working on the carving of Mount Rushmore, asking him to visit the Black Hills and carve a mountain memorial honoring Native Americans. Chief Standing Bear’s letter to Ziolkowski stated, “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, too.” Ziolkowski suggested carving the memorial in the Wyoming Tetons where the rock was better for sculpting, but the Sioux leader insisted it be carved in the Black Hills, which are sacred to Lakota culture. After making models, Ziolkowski started blasting for the monument in June, 1948. In 1949, Ziolkowski decided to devote the rest of his life to forging the Crazy Horse Memorial. From 1949 until his death in 1982, Ziolkowski drilled, bulldozed, and dynamited nearly 7.4 million tons of rock from the site.

The legacy of Crazy Horse Memorial did not end with the death of Ziolkowski. Today, seven of Ziolkowski’s children and his widow Ruth continue with Horczac’s dream of completing the memorial. When finished, the memorial will be 641 feet wide—nearly the length of two football fields—and 563 feet high. The face of Crazy Horse, measuring 87.5 feet high, was completed in 1998. By comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet high and the entire carving of Mount Rushmore could fit in the area of Crazy Horse’s face and flowing hair!

The memorial is a non-profit undertaking, and receives no federal or state funding. The Memorial Foundation charges fees for its visitor centers and makes income from its gift shops as well. Ziolkowski reportedly was offered $10 million for the project from the federal government on two occasions, but he turned the offers down. He felt that the project was more than just a mountain carving, and he feared that his plans for the broader educational and cultural goals of the memorial would be overturned by federal involvement. He was probably right!

More than 1.2 million people visit Crazy Horse Memorial each year. Many visitors, like us, make the pilgrimage annually to observe the progression of the carving. Each June visitors to the site can participate in the Crazy Horse Volksmarch. The Volksmarch is an organized 6.2-mile wilderness hike through the surrounding areas of the site, with Crazy Horse’s outstretched arm as the turn-around point of the hike. Crazy Horse Volksmarch is the only time of the year when visitors are permitted to walk at the carving site. The Volksmarch draws approximately 15,000 participants each year, and is the most popular organized hike in the U.S. Dick & Lou did it a couple of years ago but Larry & I haven't arrived early enough in June to participate yet. Maybe one of these coming years that will happen.

We finished the evening viewing the laser-light storytelling "Legends in Light." Wow, this program uses an 8,800-watt stereo system, twenty five 2,000-watt lights and three of the world's largest slide projectors. It's usually fun to end our visit with this program. Tonight however the rain decided to mess with us. About half way through the program raindrops fell fast & hard enough that we were forced to grab our things & jump into the car. We watched the finale through a spattered windshield. That's ok though, it was still a neat evening. When Korczak died on October 20, 1982, his parting words to his wife were, "You must work on the mountain -- but go slowly so you do it right." Boy, are they ever 'doin' it right'!



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