Friday, August 23, 2013

2013 Western Trip – Mt. Rushmore & Black Hills Institute

In putting this trip together, I tried to accommodate requests from each of us and for Madison, I’ve included the things she needs to see and do plus the things I know she enjoys.  For today we visited Mt. Rushmore (she needs to do) and the Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research Museum as her want to do.

When we were out her last year, Bev and I just drove by Rushmore and took a few shots, but this time we went in, saw the mountain up close, watched the movie, and looked around.  It was a dreary morning so the shots are not that great but its’s still pretty impressive and a great output from a couple of men’s vision.  Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia.

“South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region.”  “It was Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet above sea level.”

“After securing federal funding through the enthusiastic sponsorship of "Mount Rushmore's great political patron", U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.”

From the entrance back to the mountain, you pass through the Avenue Of Flags with one for each state.

“The U.S. National Park Service took control of the memorial in 1933, while it was still under construction, and has managed the memorial to the present day.  It attracts nearly three million people annually.”

From Rushmore, we went into Hill City to visit The Black Hills Museum which is small but packed with minerals, fossils, petrified wood, and dinosaur bones – most of the bones are from the area.  

Madison seems fascinated by rocks so maybe she’s a budding geologist.  They have the second largest complete T Rex after the famous Sue  which is located at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Compare this ancient alligator  mouth to the chair next to it.

This seems to be a sea creature - ancient turtle perhaps.

After this, the ladies drove me the three miles back to the campground and they went back to town for, what else, more shopping.  We finished off the day with tastings at two local wineries, The Naked WinerSD which is a franchise for the original in Hood River, OR, where the wine is made and the Prairie Berry Winery, where they make mostly non-grape fruit wines including the locally famous Red Ass Rhubarb (too sweet for me).

I believe we got our moneys worth from this day.

The night before we left the area, we drove back up to Mt. Rushmore to see it lit up.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/18/2013 event date


  1. Larry, That is a really nice picture of Madison. She's very pretty...even more so when she smiles. The photo of Mt. Rushmore at night certainly provides a different perspective. We only saw it during the daytime, but we did get an interesting look at it from a side road...hence, a side view. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie

  2. Mt. Rushmore absolutely needs to be seen by every America. The walk through the flags from every state is most impressive.

  3. Mt. Rushmore is great and you did a great write-up! Tell Madison her hair is awesome!

  4. What a great time you all must have had there... AND--seeing the museum is just so important... Glad Madison is getting this experience. So many young people these days don't know our history very well.. Great experience.

    Loved your Mt. Rushmore NIGHT photo. Awesome.

  5. You didn't tell me Madison was gorgeous. There are lots of amazing rocks up in Glacier so you guys have a great time up there.

  6. So neat! I would love to visit Mt. Rushmore. My uncles visited this past Spring and said it was amazing. Great photos.

  7. Fabulous write-up Larry and Mt. Rushmore is something every American should see. Meakin's great "uncle" was asked to be a guide for President Hoover through the Black Hills. They are definitely something we would like to see one day.

    Great shot of Madison. What a fabulous learning trip for a teenager. Cool red hair too.

  8. My parents took me to Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills/Badlands when I was a kid. I remember a lot of it, but need to go back as an adult. Thanks for all the history.

  9. It looks as if you have one sweet grand daughter. Love the information about Mt. Rushmore. We are heading east from the Oregon coast and Rushmore is one of our destinations.

  10. This was a great read, Larry. I didn't realize that the monument was completed so relatively recently. Have you gotten to see the monument they are doing for Crazy Horse? It looks impressive in pictures, can't imagine what it looks like in person.


I appreciate and enjoy your comments