Crazy Horse Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! 

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The Crazy Horse Memorial is an enormous mountain sculpture dedicated to Crazy Horse, war chief of the Oglala Lakota, who fought at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. He is the revered ancestor of the Lakota Sioux and when Mount Rushmore was in progress, the elders petitioned the government to include Crazy Horse’s image along with Washington and Lincoln. This request was ignored.

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Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, approached Korczak Ziolkowski (who had worked on Mount Rushmore) with the idea for a Crazy Horse monument. After spending three weeks with Standing Bear, learning the Lakota way of life, Ziolkowski was persuaded. He designed the massive sculpture, making it his life’s work and refusing any federal funding.

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After Ziolkowski’s death in 1982, his wife Ruth took over as CEO of the non-profit organization. She re-prioritized finishing the statue’s face first in order to attract more tourists and provide funding for the work. After Ruth’s death, a daughter took over and today the work continues under the supervision of several of Ziolkowski’s children and grandchildren.

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We enjoyed touring the museum and seeing up close the work that has been in progress for over 70 years and three generations. When finished, the Crazy Horse Memorial will be the second tallest sculpture in the world. The face is 87 feet as compared to the 60 foot presidents on Mount Rushmore.

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Location: 12151 Ave of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse, SD 57730

Designation: Memorial Sculpture

Date designated or established: June 3, 1948

Date of my visit: 7/29/2009

You Tube video of Crazy Horse Memorial courtesy of Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association

17 thoughts on “Crazy Horse Memorial

  1. An interesting counterpoint to Mount Rushmore, US history/heroes from a different viewpoint. We visited more than 20 years ago and were inspired by this monumental piece of artwork. Pity we’ll not live to see it completed.

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