We only broke the rules a little, by pulling over at the entrance to the park to take a look. We were parked there taking pictures until the armed park guards chased us away. Perhaps those guys were the essential government employees that still have to come to work.
Unbelievably, the pull-off areas along the road near the park were blocked with traffic cones, and so those areas were unavailable for safe stopping and looking. Why? I have no idea. What could be wrong with all those tourists who had carefully saved their money all year just to come to this place to see this monument being able to see what they came to see?
Prior to our drive by of the monument, we stopped to explore the Borglum Historical Center in Keystone, just two miles from Mount Rushmore. In this museum we ventured into the world of Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore.
|A Borglum sculpture completed before the Mount Rushmore project|
|Borglum's famous Seated Lincoln piece|
Probably the most fascinating part of the exhibit for me was standing alongside the full-sized eye of Lincoln, an exact replica of the eye on the mountain. It was eight feet across and seemed immense.
Apparently, when sculptor Gutzon Borglum looked upon the knobby, cracked face of that hillside there in the Black Hills of South Dakota, he saw a vision of four United States presidents carved into the mountain - Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.
Beginning at the age of 60, between 1929 and 1941, with the help of over 400 workers and several influential politicians, Borglum began carving a memorial to the history of America.
|The silhouette view of President Washington|
Later, after a brief stop for lunch and a bit of shopping back in Keystone, we boarded an 1880 steam powered train for a pleasant, although a bit bumpy, ride from Keystone to Hill City, South Dakota.
|Adding water to the engine prior to our ride|
We passed through many areas where there was evidence of long ago mining villages.
All along the way we saw plenty of white tailed deer, mule deer and large turkeys. (Earlier in the day on our way to Mount Rushmore, we saw two large elk up in the hills.)
It was a full, yet satisfying day here in the Black Hills. Lot of fascinating history, and more to come tomorrow.