This mountain sculpture was begun in 1948 by Korczak Ziolkowski commissioned by Lakota Indian chiefs who wanted the “white man to know that the red man has great heroes too.” This became his life work starting at age 40, and when completed will be the largest sculpture in the world. While working on the mountain he met his wife Ruth and raised 10 children who in one capacity or another helped the dream continue. The master plan for this campus will have the mountain carving, Indian University of North America, Indian Museum of North America and Native American Culture Center.
The work is slow going, but the dream is very much alive. They have quite a nice Indian Museum in the works and the mountain memorial is making progress.
Ziolkowski died in 1982, his wife Ruth and children continued the work, which is now ran by a not for profit corporation that will one day bring the dream to fruition. They do not have an expected completion date, but having worked on it for almost 70 years, it looks like it will not be anytime soon.
Before beginning work on the Crazy Horse memorial Ziolkowski had made a name for himself in the art world and even worked with Gutzon Borglum on the near by Mt. Rushmore mountain carving. They have incorporated his homestead/workshop as part of the museum and display some of his other work and items he collected. Below is one of his better known sculptures “Fighting Stallions” which was done in 1935; hand carved from a solid piece of mahogany and is 18 inches tall. It balances on the tail of one of the stallions. This is not the original piece, it is no longer on display. But there is a very large replica in the courtyard of the visitor center.
They also have the “Nature Gate” which Ziolkowski and his children all created panels for. It was very stunning.
Also on display was this stagecoach, the original from Cheyenne, WY to Deadwood, SD. I include this only because the placard explained that 21 people could ride on this one stagecoach. Nine inside and 12 on top!!! Can you believe it. That is almost a 5 hour drive at todays speeds, could you imagine the ride with 20 others at stagecoach speeds???
So, full disclosure, if you have been reading you know that we are traveling on a budget and doing mostly free (or almost free) things. Memorial day weekend Crazy Horse Memorial was having their open house and admission was 3 canned goods as a donation to a local food bank. This was much better than the typical $22 admission fee so we jumped on it. This weekend they hosted a 10k Volksmarch which included being allowed to hike to the top of the memorial, so we took them up on it. The volksmarch cost $3 each and admission to the memorial was again 3 canned goods.
We had never heard of much less participated in a volksmarch. It is a non competitive fitness inspiring community walk, usually 5 or 10k on a marked path. This was the 32nd annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch, and we made it. The hike went thru and around the woods, up and down hills before circling to the backside of the mountain and followed the work road to the top. It was a hard hike for us. That incline is not easy and it was really pretty steep in parts. Getting to the top was only half of it we still had to hike back down. But we made it and were glad to say that we did.
Peach and Love and never forget your dreams!!