McKellar and Caston share trip to the west

Staff Writer

The Horseshoe Robertson Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution met Wednesday at the home of Gaynell Duke. Lucy McKellar and Jane Caston share their experiences while traveling through the west to visit historic landmarks and the national parks.

"We spent 23 days traveling through the west," McKellar said. "My mother Jane, myself and my two boys had a wonderful time, Mom has a senior pass. it's good for her lifetime, cost $10 and is good for as many people as are in a car. It was accepted at all of the national parks and monuments but not at the privately owned ones."
She said most of the sites that are owned by the U.S. government are $50 per car, so she thought the senior pass, purchased for a one-time only charge of $10 was priceless.

"While we were at Mt. Rushmore, we were told we need to visit Crazy Horse," McKellar said. "I had been there 15 years before and was interested in how much it had progressed since then. It is such an enormous sculpture that it looked like very little progress had been made toward completion."
She said the cultures and traditions of the Northern Native American tribes were in danger of being obliterated. Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota chief, conceived the idea of a portrait likeness of the Lakota leader, Crazy Horse. It would be carved out of the lasting granite of his Paha Sapa of the sacred Black Hills.
He spoke to Korczak Ziolkowski, a sculptor who was happy to be part of the creation of the monument," McKeller said. "When it reaches completion it will be the largest sculpture in the world. The face is finished. You could put all four faces from Mr. Rushmore in the space that the face of Crazy Horse occupies."
She said it is not federally funded. McKellar said the work continues through private donors, the tourist dollars that it generates with a museum and gift shop and donations from generous people who want to honor the proud people of the South Dakota Black Hills.

"The Black Hills of South Dakota is a wonderful place to visit," McKeller said. "We went there, the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon, Zion and a few more. We made the most of being in the west for almost a month."

Jane Caston, member of the DAR said it was strange that the sculptor who began the work on Crazy Horse was not of Native American descent. She said he began the work on the face in 1948.
"I had always wanted to visit Mt. Rushmore," Caston said. "It is a memorial created as a shrine to democracy. It is only 17 miles from Crazy Horse, so I recommend seeing both if you can."
Caston said the idea of creating a sculpture in the Black Hills was dreamed up in 1923 by South Dakota historian Doane Robinson. He wanted to find a way to attract tourists to the state. She said it worked. Mount Rushmore is now visited by nearly 3 million people annually.

"Robinson originally wanted to sculpt with the likenesses of Western heroes like explorers Lewis and Clark and Buffalo Bill Cody into the nearby stone pinnacles known as the Needles," Caston said. "Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum was enlisted to help with the project. At the time, he was working on the massive carving at Stone Mountain in Georgia. Borlum said he believed the model was flawed and the monument wouldn’t stand the test of time. He was looking for a way out when South Dakota called."

Caston said Borglum wanted to create something that would draw people from around the world. He wanted to carve a mountain.
"Borglum and his son, Lincoln, thought the monument should have a national focus and decided that four presidents should be carved," Caston said. "They presidents for their significant contribution to the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the country."

Caston said these are the reasons these four presidents are immortalized on Mr. Rushmore.
George Washington was chosen because he was the nation’s founding father.
Thomas Jefferson was chosen to represent expansion, because he was the president who signed the Louisiana Purchase and authored the Declaration of Independence.
Theodore Roosevelt was chosen because he represented conservation, a love of nature and the industrial blossoming of the nation.
Abraham Lincoln was chosen because he led the country through the Civil War and believed in preserving the nation at any cost.

"The sculpture took 14 years to complete," Caston said. "The Mt. Rushmore Society and the National Parks Service raised 25 million dollars for the enhancement of the memorial and to end the erosion of the stone sculpture."