While in the Black Hills, we visited the Crazy Horse Memorial. Chief Crazy Horse is known for defeating George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or Custer’s Last Stand. The sculptor, Korczak Ziółkowski, started the carving in 1948, but it is far from finished as you can see in the following photo:
We took a short tour that brought us closer:
Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Lakota tribe commissioned the carving. Ziolkowski thought the Tetons in Wyoming would be a suitable location, but the Lakota wanted the project to be in the Black Hills, which they considered sacred.
According to Wikipedia, “Ziolkowski reportedly was offered $10 million for the project from the federal government on two occasions, but he turned the offers down. He felt that the project was more than just a mountain carving, and he feared that his plans for the broader educational and cultural goals of the memorial would be overturned by federal involvement.”
If you’d like to see what the finished sculpture will look like, here’s a photo of the model:
Ziolkowski died in 1982, but seven of his ten children are still working at the site.
It’s funny actually but I like the unfinished sculpture. It’s as if he was one with the land, the mountain.
I agree, Caroline. I also wonder how stable that slim, pointing finger will be over time.
Yes, I’m with you both on that one. I know the current carving isn’t in accordance with Ziolkowski’s vision for the project, but it has a timeless appeal. It feels more natural.
Yes. The model looks like marble, which is much less natural-looking. The mountain is granite.
Stunning sculpture. I agree with Caroline, there is something more powerful in Chief Crazy Horse emerging from the face of the mountain. Great photos as always, Carole!
Thanks, Cheryl! The work is going so slowly, it will be decades before the final carving is accomplished.
We were surprised @ how little had been accomplished since we last were there (years & years ago) considering how long it took to carve Mt. Rushmore. It will be a great sight when finished
Same here, Beth.
I agree, I like the unfinished. I’ve never been to the Black Hills but I would like to. And I miss those blue skies you see in the west. They seem endless. Nice photos!
Way to go:)
I visited this a few years ago. It was rainy and cloudy and didn’t get a good view with the cloud cover. Thanks for posting these.
You’re very welcome.
Rain does strange things to granite. I don’t like seeing Mt. Rushmore in the rain.