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Friday, April 14, 2017

M is for Mount Rushmore


Mount Rushmore.  Sigh.  I know this is a place that everyone wants to visit while in the Black Hills.
I have to tell you though, this is the place I am least excited to visit.  I'm torn on a few things.
I know I need to take the children here so they can say that they have been to Mount Rushmore.
I know it's an amazing feat of sculpting, but the person who designed it, their values hit me in the wrong spot.

Let's start out with the sight.
There is no entrance fee, but you do have to pay $10 to park.  The fee you pay for parking does not go to the monument.  It actually goes towards the company running the parking garage. 

Once you get into the memorial area there is a visitors center and a Presidential Trail that leads you closer to the memorial.  It states on there it is a .6 mile hike, so not very far.  They have an audio tour you can go on.
They have some Ranger Programs.  When I go to parks, most of the time I really enjoy the programs, so depending on the time of day we make it to Mount Rushmore, we will have to take in a program or two.
I was reading Josh Gates "Memoirs of a Monster Hunter" and I came along a little bullet point list of the places that didn't live up to their hype of being as awesome in real life as they were in pictures.
He mentioned Mount Rushmore.  Sure, it looks awesome in pictures, but it looks awkward in real life and the creator was a member of the KKK.
Now, that made me gasp a little. So being the person I am, I had to research it.
Gutzon Borglum.  He was in the KKK, even though after a falling out with them (he was dismissed from the Stone Mountain in Georgia project) he claims to not be a member.
He worked on the Mount Rushmore project from 1927 until his death in 1941.
His son took over the project for one year after he died.  He finished all that his father had needed to do for completion.
How many people know about Gutzon Borglum?  He was a fantastic artist, but still.

That's why I'm torn.

Have you ever been to Mount Rushmore?
Share your experiences with me!

30 comments:

  1. Years ago, we moved from upstate NY to Utah. We had two little kids and took over a week to make the drive so we could stop and see some stuff. Mt. Rushmore was one of our stops.

    My experience was much as you're anticipating. It's kind of a cool project, but not really much of a destination. In fact, I didn't even bother to take any photos. I vaguely remember the story of the sculptor dying before its completion. I did NOT know he was a former KKK!

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    1. I figure we will get a little walking in with the trail, say we saw it and continue on to other things. :)

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  2. I've not been there. There are so many places you feel you should visit rather than wanting to visit. I went on a South African safai a few months ago. I am not partucularly interested in animals so it was an expensive gamble. It was one of the best things I've done. So Mt Rushmore? Mybe. We'll see.

    Another day in Amble Bay!

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  3. When my husband and I made our great trek out west we opted to skip Mt. Rushmore. We drove through the Black Hills and onto Yellowstone. I've never regretted missing it. I did see a PBS program on its construction that was very interesting. Besides, once you've watched Cary Grant climbing around the monument, just looking at it seems anti-climatic.

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    1. We will end up in Yellowstone for three nights during this trip. Much excitement over that.

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  4. I've been there twice. No need to go back, but there are some neat things to see in the area (the Black Hills, Leeds Gold Mine, Deadwood and Devil's Tower and the Badlands aren't that far off). But I do remember seeing mountain goats for the first time when leaving the monument.

    http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-letter-l-is-for-lots-in-our.html

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    1. Mount Rushmore is our lets see it and say we've done it place to visit.

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  5. I never went further west in South Dakota than Pierre.

    Gutzon Borglum and I share a birthday.

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    1. My birthday is March 24th, so just a day before.

      March birthdays are the best :)

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  6. No, i haven't been, and i didn't take my children. As you say, it's one of those "i'm not so sure about it" places. Not just the artist, the whole idea of it bothers me. Many historic figures may have been great people, but were they good people? The distinction haunts me when i see monuments like this.

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  7. I enjoyed visiting the monument. Yes the KKK thing would bother me. During that period of history, fifteen percent of the United States population were members. Interesting enough, the largest membership of the KKK was outside the South. It's not a good part of American history. But it is part of the history which is a teachable moment for your children.

    I also enjoyed Crazy Horse which so many people think is not that big a thrill.

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    1. My sister actually recommended Crazy Horse at night over Mount Rushmore. We are definitely hitting up both places, but I'm more excited about Crazy Horse.

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  8. My brother lived in Rapid City for years so I have been there several times. Usually I went when a new person was with me who had not been there before. My brother and his family never joined us. Perhaps protesting the builder. Natural monuments are far more impressive to me.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador

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    1. I love the natural features much more also. The whole I'm obsessed with Biology and Geology and all that jazz helps a little with that.

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  9. One of the little know facts about Mount Rushmore is that on the opposite side of the world is a mountain that has been carved into several pairs of feet. (Ok I made that up)

    Thank you for the visit :)

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  10. I have been to Mt. Rushmore. You are so far away it is hard to get a good impression of the size and the work done. But I always enjoy seeing any interesting part of the country.

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  11. I vaguely remember seeing Mt. Rushmore as a child on one of those impossibly long road trips where the back of our legs stuck to the vinyl seats of the station wagon and it was so hot that we wanted to get out and run around instead of sitting for hours in the car, holding in whatever soda or water we drank too much of at the last rest stop.

    So I suppose, technically, I remember more about the car ride than I do about the destination. I'm not sure that's such a good sign.

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  12. I've been there. But it really wasn't much when compared to The Grand Canyon, Old Faithful or Pike's Peak. The largest ball of twine was actually more fun as I remember it. It's something you see and you can check off your list, but I wouldn't expect to have it on your top list of favorite places you've been.

    McCaffrey

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  13. Once upon a time this place was on my bucket list of places to visit before I died. But I often wonder what is the point of seeing heads carved out of a mountain? And the poor bodyless heads....

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  14. I've always wanted to go, but I'm not sure if I'll make that trip. There's not much nearby that I want to see!

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  15. I've never been there, never had any real desire to go. I think the size of the sculpture is impressive, an amazing engineering feat, in addition to the art. As far as the artist belonging to the KKK - that doesn't seem relevant to me. Art stands alone.

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  16. I prefer the long distance view, same with Crazy Horse. But that's me...

    L: Las Vegas & Leesburg
    DB McNicol, author & traveler
    Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

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  17. No, I've never been there and I'm not likely to ever go as I live in South Africa. It still looks like an awesome feat! Happy Easter! M is for Marketing Methods as you Build a Better Blog. #AtoZchallenge.

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  18. My husband and I attempted to see Mt. Rushmore on an impulsive trip across South Dakota. However, we happened to go when the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was gearing up and oh.my.goodness. It was so LOUD everywhere we went. We couldn't find a hotel room or a place to park. So we did a drive by of Mt. Rushmore, then headed out of the state.

    Trudy @ Reel Focus
    Food in Film: Meatloaf

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  19. The drive toward the monument is interesting, but we spent very little time inside. The displays are ok.

    We loved the Badlands & Devils tower. Didn't have enough time to head further west so we are planning a trip to Yellowstone.

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  20. I've not seen Mt. Rushmore, but it's on my Travel Bucket List. Such a unique monument in such an unsuspecting location.

    Visiting from A to Z

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  21. I'm with you on Mt. Rushmore, and I didn't even know about the sculptor's KKK affiliation. I just don't care for the attitude.

    But to answer your question: I've sort of visited. We were in the Black Hills when our kids were still in grade school, and decided to drive by and make a flying visit on our way out to Badlands NP. Sadly, it was the weekend before July 4...and the day of the big fireworks show there. It took forever to get near the place, and there was no way we were stopping. Not to worry: we could see all we needed/wanted from the car, as we crept past at 2 mph. I have no intention of ever going back.

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  22. I had no idea the artist once belonged to the KKK. Not cool, but if I was in the area, I still might stop by for a look.

    N is for Operation Northwoods

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  23. I am hopping around and came upon your list with Mount Rushmore as a ? before this post. I now get some understanding but I think it sounds like an amazing idea that took real persisistence to execute. As mentioned on the other post, the film North by Northwest might be fun to watch as Mount Rushmore features quite dramatically. I think I would see but remember other things about who is being memorialised and why and the amount of effort the sculptor put in.

    Visiting from A to Z
    M is for Arrival in Melbourne of the Persian in 1854
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    Anne Young

    Anne's family history

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