I’m not really sure why they made this- it’s always seemed like a crazy idea to me to dangle sculptors over the side of a cliff to make a huge sculpture, but they did it. It seems that the idea was to encourage tourism in the area, and they certainly succeeded in doing that. In the end, they not only created a tourist destination in the Black Hills of South Dakota, they not only created a National Monument, they created a national icon.
Yet it was no easy task. The idea was floated in 1923 but the first figure, that of President Washington, wasn’t finished until 1930, and the whole project wasn’t completed until 1941.
I just spent a week in the Black Hills; my first trip there as it happened, and I must say there is a great deal to see without Mount Rushmore- the natural beauty of the place is simply stunning, even for me, and I have a hard time seeing things at all. Yet with that said, there is something about this place…
We were going to visit there last Monday; that was the plan anyway, but there was a 2 hour wait to get in, there were so many people from all over the world who wanted to see it, or should I say, who wanted to experience it? I dipped into my bag of National Monument tricks and we returned at sunup on Tuesday and had the place almost to ourselves: That is the way to see things like this… and should you ever visit Washington, DC in the high summer season, it’s the only way to visit the National Mall and all of those monuments as well (no extra charge for that great tip).
At dawn the air is cool, the lighting is amazing- and changing. You can hear the birds in the trees, and in this place, you will have the chance to see other wildlife in the woods that are never far away, and you won’t have a view in between the heads of hundreds of thousands of your friends and neighbors…
Most of all for me, Mount Rushmore, whatever you may think about it, and it has its critics, it seems a great example of something that goes all the way back to the Garden in Genesis 1 and 2. God’s creative handiwork is all around you, and there are few places on earth where His Creativity is more exquisite. On display right in the middle is the creativity God gave to Man as part of what it means to be created in His image: God and Man combining together to bring about something unique, and in its way, amazing.
It’s worth the trip.