Before we left for South Dakota, a friend told me we should visit Hill City. It was no longer just the place to ride an 1880s train, it was now an “artist’s enclave.” So up we went. There are a few art galleries and some are very nice, but Hill City has a little ways to go to claim that title. I’m sure they will get there. What we did see:
There was a great assortment of antiques in this place, including glass Ball jars. . . .
Just down the street, a horse made from scrap iron
I have nowhere to put this thing, but I like it.
Another friend recommended The Alpine Inn for fantastic German food.
I especially liked the entrance.
Unfortunately, it was closed, so we had lunch at this place.
There was one gallery we really liked, full of prints of the Black Hills. I try not to photograph prints or paintings, because artists can get ripped off that way. But I really like the rustic fireplace, and the prints are pretty hard to see and copy from this shot.
We did go back to the Alpine Inn the next day, and it’s true–their German fare is delicious. This raspberry torte was dessert. . . .
So then we drove up to Mount Rushmore, the biggest tourist attraction in South Dakota. I especially like this view because it shows the scale.
The faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln are sixty feet high! Washington’s nose is twenty feet long. You really have to see it in person to appreciate the magnitude.
Mount Rushmore was carved into granite cliffs. The irises of the eyes were sculpted as holes. A cube of granite was left in each to represent the reflection highlight, making the appearance of the eyes more realistic. You can see this more clearly in the next photo.
There are some great enlarged images in the visitor center. This one shows the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, suspended in front of one of the presidents. I don’t like heights, so this stuff almost gives me vertigo.
The guys who did the drilling used leather harnesses like the ones shown above and below, or they chained themselves to the rock. You couldn’t pay me enough money. Miraculously, no one died during the project.
A lot of dynamite was used in the project, but engineers were able to pinpoint the exact placement of the blasts.
Mount Rushmore was started by Borglum in 1927, and finished in 1941 a few months after he died. The total cost of the project was just under one million U.S. dollars.
Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest was filmed around Mount Rushmore. According to Wikipedia, Hitchcock “wanted to do a chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore. The scene was not actually filmed at the monument, since permission to shoot an attempted killing on the face of a national monument was refused by the National Park Service. The film incorrectly depicts a forested plateau and the house of the villain atop the monument.” It’s a great movie starring Cary Grant.
The scene where Grant is being chased by a crop duster gets me every time.
Great weekend, everyone!