A Travellerspoint blog

DAY 13 KEYSTONE TO CODY

Last night's dinner and visit to Crazy Horse and travel to Cody, Wyoming

Last night was an absolute spectacular part of our trip with a visit to Crazy Horse about 20 miles from Keystone and approximately 17 miles from Mt Rushmore. This is an absolutely fascinating story of a man dreaming big. The largest monument carved into a mountain, a social development project with university, medical training facilities and centre to be developed over many years. He knew it would not be completed in his lifetime.

In 1939 Ziolkowski's marble sculpture of Ignacy Jan Paderewski won first prize at the New York World's Fair. The fame as well as his familiarity with the Black Hills prompted several Lakota Chiefs to approach him about a monument honoring Native Americans. Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Lakota wrote to him, saying, "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too."

Ziolkowski met with the leaders shortly afterward and began planning a monument. Over the next few years, he conducted research and began planning the sculpture. He also met Ruth Ross, a young art enthusiast, who would later become his second wife. Ruth still lives on site and is the CEO of the Crazy Horse Foundation at the age of 87.

Ziolkowski put the project on hold when the United States entered World War II. He volunteered for service in the United States Army and was wounded in 1944 at Omaha Beach, in Normandy, France.

In 1947 Ziolkowski moved to the Black Hills, and began to search for a suitable mountain for his sculpture. Korczak thought the Wyoming Tetons would be the best choice, where the rock would be better for carving, but the Lakota wanted the memorial in the sacred Black Hills on a 600-foot (180 m)-high mountain. The monument was to be the largest sculpture in the world. When completed, it would be 563 feet (172 m) high by 641 feet (195 m) long. Crazy Horse's head would be large enough to contain all the 60-foot (18 m)-high heads of the Presidents at Mount Rushmore.

On June 3, 1948, the first blast was made, and the memorial was dedicated to the Native American people. In 1950 Ziolkowski and Ruth Ross, who had become a volunteer at the monument, were married. Work continued slowly, since he refused to accept government grants. He raised money for the project by charging admission to the monument work area.

Ziolkowski continued his work until he died of acute pancreatitis at the monument site in 1982. He was buried in a tomb at the base of the mountain. After his death, his wife Ruth took over the project as director of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. Seven of his ten children have continued the carving of the monument or are active in the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.
Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Crazy Horse Monument taking shape

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre

Gates at Crazy Horse Visitor Centre


Crazy Horse Museum

Crazy Horse Museum

Plans for Crazy Horse Monument

Plans for Crazy Horse Monument

Sculpture at Crazy Horse Mountain

Sculpture at Crazy Horse Mountain

Scale model of Crazy Horse with mountain in background

Scale model of Crazy Horse with mountain in background

Mr & Mrs Korczak Ziolkowski - they had ten children and most still live and work here.

Mr & Mrs Korczak Ziolkowski - they had ten children and most still live and work here.

Crazy Horse Monument   one thirty fourth scale model inscription panel

Crazy Horse Monument one thirty fourth scale model inscription panel

Buda Compressor used in early days at Crazy Horse Monument. Korczak had to walk up and down 700 steps to re-start the compressor, nine times one day.

Buda Compressor used in early days at Crazy Horse Monument. Korczak had to walk up and down 700 steps to re-start the compressor, nine times one day.

We woke early to another long day of travel of 666km to go from Keystone to Cody today. This morning we headed through rich, mountainous country to Buffalo, where open-range cattle kings made war on the sheep ranchers of the 1880's.

We drove to Sheridan, the scene of many fierce battles between the US Cavalry and the Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow Indians.
Sheridan - we cross the mountains seen in the background

Sheridan - we cross the mountains seen in the background

Then we climbed over the Bighorn Mountains en route to our overnight stop in Buffalo Bill's frontier town of Cody.
Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park

Big Horn National Park


The bighorn national Park is spectacular. We stopped at Bear lodge for our afternoon break. People we talked to said that snow was up to their armpits in mid april and only two weeks ago they had a foot of snow.
Julie and David at  Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

Julie and David at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

Philip daring Julie to take a dip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

Philip daring Julie to take a dip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet


This is one I prepared earlier -  Philip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet

This is one I prepared earlier - Philip at Bear Lodge - elevation 7300 feet


Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect

Big Horn National Park - western aspect -  Shell Creek

Big Horn National Park - western aspect - Shell Creek

Posted by Kangatraveller 17:32

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint