Freaky Family Fun – Day Eleven (Corn, Flashing Lights, Presidents, and an Indian Chief)

Day Eleven – Traveled 415 miles from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Spearfish, Montana, with lots of fun stops at famous places along the way.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Where you can get corny pictures and

and buy Corncessions.

I visited the Corn Palace with my daughters on our cross-country trip in 1997, and it is a fun place to stop.  The entire building, which also houses City Hall, is covered in corn and prairie grasses with a different theme each year.

There is a short movie and lots of restaurants nearby so it makes a good hour or two stop if you are traveling across the prairie.

A funny thing happened on the way to our next stop.  The warning lights in the car went off again!  Yes, on the way east, when the car warning lights went off  the first time, we blamed my sister and her lack of experience pumping her own gas since she lives in Oregon where it is illegal to do so.  She was vindicated.  She wasn’t being lame about tightening the gas cap – it was defective!  We are so thankful that a local Rapid City Subaru dealer, whose service bays were packed, took us right in,  checked the vehicle out, and turned off the warning lights so we could use the Cruise Control again.  A leak test confirmed that there was a defect in the gas cap, and we continued on our journey.

The Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is not a State or Federal site.  This site is a non-profit foundation promoted by the original sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, and his surviving family members.  His selection as designer and sculptor of the memorial was supported by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear and is a tribute to Lakota Chief Crazy Horse.

The 1/34th scale model of the sculpture on the grounds of the visitors center juxtaposed against the mountain sculpture.

The original sculpture, which is the world’s largest mountain carving in  progress, is nowhere near completion even though work on it started in 1948.

This overlay shows the progress to date.

What is amazing is that the head alone is over 87½ feet tall.  By comparison, the faces on Mount Rushmore are about 60 feet tall.

The faces of Mount Rushmore – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

The artist for Mount Rushmore National Memorial was Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln.  Lincoln Borglum continued work on the site after his father’s death, and Korczak Ziolkowski, the Crazy Horse artist, also spent time working on Mount Rushmore.  The two sites are about 17 miles apart from each other.

The Avenue of the Americas at the entrance to Mount Rushmore.

Tourism is South Dakota’s second-largest industry, and Mount Rushmore is its top tourist attraction.  The memorial attracts about three million visitors a year with many visiting over the weekend of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

I love the Corn Palace and Mount Rushmore, both of which I have visited in the past, but something about the Crazy Horse Memorial leaves me a little skeptical.  I will not deny Ziolkowski’s passion and vision, but I’m not altogether sure his motives were truly as altruistic as depicted.  I’m also doubtful whether or not this exhibit will ever be completed – it certainly won’t be in our lifetimes.

In any event, a visit to all three are worth the trip.

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6 Responses to Freaky Family Fun – Day Eleven (Corn, Flashing Lights, Presidents, and an Indian Chief)

  1. Martha says:

    We visited all those places when we traveled to Montana in 1996 for a family reunion. I also liked the corn palace. We did not stay that long, but it was neat to see.

    • Mama says:

      Yes, and it’s different every year. We took the time to watch the movie and tour the inside of the Corn Palace. Our tour guide was a newly graduate high schooler from the town and she told us that not only do all the basketball and other indoor sports events take place in the Corn Palace but so do the proms and graduations. They have truly and succesfully transformed the place into the cultural center of the town as well as a tourist attraction. How cool is that?

      Mama

      • Martha says:

        there wasn’t going on there when we went. We did take our own little tour of the palace. I thought it was neat. Maybe we were there on a sunday. I just remeber not seeing many people around when we were there.

  2. Mary Quick says:

    The tour guide had a corny sense of humor too!

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