Results 1-10of 24 Reviews
September 24, 2013
From journal Family Vacation in the Black Hills
July 22, 2012
From journal More Than Just Badlands
August 1, 2011
From journal Journey to the Old Way of Life in South Dakota
ashbourne, United Kingdom
July 10, 2011
From journal Meeting up in South Dakota
NY, New York
August 7, 2009
From journal Traveling out West from Denver to Salt Lake Day 3-4
Rodeo, New Mexico
August 22, 2004
After gazing upon the faces and people-watching for a while, we walked down the steps to the Borglum Viewing Terrace, where a sculptor was supposed to be working. His materials and sculpture were there, but no sculptor. So after waiting a short while, we continued on to the Sculptor’s Studio. There, a park ranger gave an informative presentation about the history and construction of the faces, in front of the original small-scale model of them carved by Gutzon Borglum. This sculpture includes their torsos as well as their heads, as Borglum intended also for the mountain carving.
The original idea for mountain carvings in South Dakota came from state historian Doane Robinson, who had envisioned sculptures of famous heroes of the West (such as Lewis and Clark, and Red Cloud) as a way to increase visitation to the Black Hills and South Dakota. In 1924, he invited Gutzon Borglum, an already well-known sculptor from back East, to select a site in the Black Hills for this purpose. Mount Rushmore was chosen, but Borglum wanted to sculpt presidents of the United States, and his will prevailed. George Washington, father of the nation, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln, who preserved the union despite Civil War, and Theodore Roosevelt, monopoly-buster and conservationist, were selected.
Work began in Fall 1927, and continued through the Depression with federal funds, although financial problems often arose. Borglum, an inspired but highly temperamental artist, alienated many supporters in 14 years of work, and died in March 1941. His son Lincoln continued supervising work on the faces until October 1941, but funds were finally cut due to World War II.
Back to the present day, we walked the half-mile wooden walkways and steps that comprise the Presidential Trail loop, which got us closer to the faces. As we returned, thunderclouds grew thicker and an ear-splitting burst of thunder sent little ones scurrying for their moms. Somehow, during our visit, we entirely overlooked the Lincoln Borglum Museum and Giftshop, underneath Grand View Terrace.
From journal Black Hills Blues
by Mandan Lynn
Smithwick, South Dakota
August 26, 2007
From journal My Black Hills
by Noel F.
July 9, 2007
From journal 4th of July in the Black Hills
East Berlin, Pennsylvania
October 7, 2006
We've been there twice now having stopped there two years ago on our first western trip, and then considering it important enough to take my nephew and mom to see it this time. Had my nephew and mom not been with us, we'd have skipped it the second time. However, I do think folks should see it once - esp if they're in the area - mainly because it's so famous.
This trip, we opted to go there from Rapid City's airport after picking my mom up - then took the route through Custer State Park (that's worth doing too - very pretty drive) on our way back to the Badlands (see journal entries for Badlands - don't miss them - everyone we've talked with that have seen both prefer the Badlands - we suggest seeing both).
On your way to the monument from Rapid City you'll pass by several small entertainment options - a typical tourist area. We skipped all those (both times) but stop and see them if you're so inclined. I'm sure they'd appreciate the business. For us, we were just doing a "quickie" on our way out west.
The monument itself is well done - with a nice "Avenue of Flags" (one from each state) leading to it making a nice picture spot from the front. There's a huge gift shop and places to eat. Head down the avenue, and then down the elevator or steps to access the Borglum Museum/studio which gives a great presentation of the history of making the monument - including telling what it was originally supposed to be - and what it ended up being. A visit isn't complete without seeing this aspect of it as the history lesson is quite informative. You can walk below the monument (Presidential Trail - some elevation change with this), but not to the top (surprising some folks).
At night they have lights on the monument - and a ceremony lighting them if you're inclined to stay for that. People that have stayed said they enjoyed it (we left to see Custer State Park before dark). There's lots of great picture spots all over, but in general, you only need to allow 2-3 hours to thoroughly see this place - maybe more if you listen to some of the ranger talks (interesting, but generally restating the same info you can read). Enjoy.
From journal 2006 Trip - Part 1 - IA, Badlands + Rushmore
October 15, 2004
After driving all over trying to find the free parking (my husband refuses to pay for parking), we finally gave up and went to the car entrance line. The woman working at the booth informed us that the free parking was closed, so we paid our fee (not without grumbling) and parking in the first spot we could find.
It was close to dinnertime for us, so we headed to the cafeteria first. Though we are well traveled and know the exorbitant prices of museum and monument food areas, we resigned ourselves to eating here. The menu didn't hold anything exceptional, so we settled on the special, spaghetti and meatballs, salad, a roll, a fountain beverage for under $6. We were very surprised to see that the plate of spaghetti we were given was HUGE and that we could get free refills on our sodas. It turned out to be a great meal for a great price! We were very impressed. The dining area is large, clean, and very modern.
After our meal, we visited the very informative and well put-together museums. We also walked the Presidential Trail, which is a boardwalk trail with stairs up and down, but isn't too strenuous. The trail takes you directly under the monument and also to the Sculptor's Studio, which had closed by the time we got there.
The nighttime lighting of the monument begins at 8pm. Unfortunately, it began to rain while we were sitting in the amphitheater, waiting for the show to begin. The rain at first was on and off, but soon a thunderstorm began to roll through. The ranger who was giving the presentation decided to shorten the program and simply turned on the lights for us. I have been told since that they normally play classic, American songs during this, but our lighting was accompanied only by the soft sounds of rolling thunder. It was quite eerie. After my husband spent some time taking great care to snap the photos you see below, we walked to the gift shop. The gift shop is quite large and had many of the souvenirs that we had seen in many other shops throughout South Dakota. Since the rain began to pick up, we had to cut our visit short with a dash to our car!
From journal Mt. Rushmore, Custer and the Badlands, SD 2004