This is a place of big-time dreamers and do-ers and the inspired works of them. The world’s two largest sculptures are just 13 miles apart in the Black Hills: Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Crazy Horse Memorial. In addition to the mountain carvings, you will find other many other sculptures throughout the Black Hills; by acclaimed local artists and world-renown ones. There just seems to be something about this area that moves people to shape what they will; be it mountains, marble, bronze or clay.
Here’s a compilation of other major statuary around the Black Hills.
The Sculptor’s Studio at Mount Rushmore is somewhat out of the way at the Rushmore viewing complex, but worth the effort. Here are Gutzon Borglum’s original 12-foot high models of The Faces. This is where all measurements originated. One inch on the model equals one foot on the mountain. “Gutzon Borglum,” a bronze bust of the man who carved Mount Rushmore, is displayed in the portico near the Avenue of Flags.
“Seated Lincoln” by Gutzon Borglum is an epic bronze portrait of President Abraham Lincoln somberly contemplating the day’s news from the Civil War battlefields. It’s outside the Borglum Story Museum in downtown Keystone, just two miles from Rushmore. The museum holds dozens of other sculptures, paintings and sketches by Borglum.
“City of Presidents” sculptures in Rapid City reveal this region’s patriotism and fondness for our nation’s leaders. Standing or seated on busy street corners downtown, life-sized bronze statues of 42 U.S. Presidents surprise pedestrians and motorists. The City of Presidents project is an artistic approach to economic development conceived by Rapid City businessman Don Perdue. It’s a collaboration of U.S. history, American patriotism, public sculpture and national pride. The project is 100% privately financed. Stop in at the City of Presidents Visitor Center at 631 Main, Rapid City to see the original sculptures, info on each President and a walking tour map.
Other public sculptures in Rapid City are “Hunkayapi” by Dale Lamphere, which depicts an older Lakota woman placing a sacred eagle plume on a younger woman. It stands outside Prairie Edge Galleries, Sixth and Main. “Mitakuye Oyasin,” or “We are all related” is a Lamphere sculpture depicting the Lakota Sioux philosophy that all two-legged and four-leggeds are spiritually connected. The work is on the corner of Main and Sixth. Near Sixth and Omaha streets, in Memorial Park, is Dale Lamphere’s Legacy Monument #1, a tribute to 238 victims of a local flash flood on June 9, 1972. And high up on Skyline Drive, a mountain ridge that bisects Rapid City, you’ll discover Dinosaur Park, where seven life-size dinosaurs constructed of concrete overlook the city.
The Sculptor’s Studio at Crazy Horse contains dozens of marble, limestone, bronze, wood and plaster carvings by Korczak Ziolkowski. The studio is just one feature while touring the visitor complex at the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer. Among them are the 17-foot white plaster model, which is a source for measurements for the carving on the mountain. “Fighting Stallions,” another of Korzcak’s creations, is a magnificent bronze just outside the Visitor Center.
“Gift of Water,” a statue in Hot Springs, shows a classical figure of a woman presenting a water urn. The statue caps the Kidney Springs Gazebo in the downtown district. Fresh spring water flows from a cliff here, and many locals make daily trips to fill jugs for drinking and washing.
In downtown Deadwood, on Sherman Street, you’ll find “Wild Bill,” sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski’s 3X bust of the famed frontier gunman. Nearby, outside Four Aces casino, 531 Main, another “Wild Bill Hickok” statue leans back in his poker chair. It’s notable because the artists are Monique Ziolkowski, daughter of Korczak, and James Borglum, grandson of Gutzon Borglum. Tony Chytka’s large bronze, “Ride High,” of rodeo great T.C. Holloway sits at the corner of Main and Shine Street, across from the Historic Franklin Hotel. At the Days of ’76 rodeo grounds, “Old Prospector” depicts a placer miner on the very spot where the great gold rush of 1876 occurred.
“Colonel Sturgis” depicts Colonel Samuel Sturgis, commander of Ft. Meade Cavalry Post, riding an elegant warhorse into town and greeting the local children. The life-size bronze by Edward Hlavka is in the Sturgis City Park.
“The Patriarch,” a behemoth sleeping buffalo statue created by Peggy Detmers, greets motorists at a plaza at the junction of US 16-385 and Main Street in Hill City. In May 2009, a new statute was dedicated as part of the grand opening of The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, at 23935 Hwy. 85 near Hill City. The six-foot "CCC Workers Statue," donated by Melvin Hermannson, a CCC alumni from Rapid City, stands near the entrance of the museum.
“Lasting Legacy,” a 6-foot bronze of a bronc buster by Tony Chytka greets travelers entering town from the south on US 85. To this day, Belle Fourche is something of a “cowtown” — and proud of it. Downtown, Chytka molded a sculpture of buffalo tamer Jerry Wayne Olson atop his buff, Chief. Belle Fourche bareback champs brothers Marvin and Mark Garrett are immortalized in Chytka bronze on opposite downtown corners. The Geographical Center of the United States is located at Belle Fourche, and a 21-foot granite compass rosette marks the spot near the Chamber of Commerce.
“City of Presidents” sculptures in Rapid City reveal this region’s patriotism and fondness for our nation’s leaders. In fact, Rapid City has been honored with the designation of "Most Patriotic Best Small Town in the United States" in part because of this fantastic city tour. Standing or seated on busy street corners downtown, life-sized bronze statues of 42 U.S. Presidents surprise pedestrians and motorists.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a large scale sculpture by artist Gutzon Borglum of America's most prominent Presidents from the first 150 years of democracy. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln &
A mythic warrior, a famed artist, his family and a canvas composed of granite are the elements that comprise the legendary past, present and future of the Crazy Horse Memorial.