My XO Adventures Sightseeing Tour of the Southern Black Hills Includes Crazy Horse Memorial Tours.
Crazy Horse Memorial is a monument in the Black Hills carved out of the granite of Thunderhead Mountain. Construction began with the first blasts in 1948, removing 10 tons of rock from the mountain.
Chief Crazy Horse is a revered Oglala Lakota Chief known for his skill, prowess, and humility. The monument is immense, and the progress is ongoing. The face of Crazy Horse is complete, and roughly eleven million tons of rock have been removed from the mountain.
Crazy Horse fought to preserve the Lakota Way of life, and the monument is dedicated to all Native Americans. The monument serves to keep the Lakota story alive for eternity.
We are often asked when Crazy Horse Memorial will be finished. There is no set a date for completion, and it could take 50-100 years to complete. Seeing the largest monument in the world in progress is fascinating.
Crazy Horse Memorial Photos
Crazy Horse progress may seem slow, but this is a privately funded project. No government money is involved. The project on Thunderhead Mountain has no completion date set.
Chief Henry Standing Bear asked Korczak Ziolkowski to sculpt Crazy Horse in the Black Hills after Mount Rushmore was completed. Korczak passed away in 1980, leaving his wife Ruth and family to complete the project.
During Season, you can visit the Native American Artist in Residency, or see Living Treasures, Storytellers, Performers or a Talking Circle. Crazy Horse Memorial has a restaurant called Laughing Water, which is open 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM during season.
Crazy Horse Memorial Activites
- Van Rides to the Top of the Mountain
- Bus Ride to the Front of the Mountain
- Daily Cultural Performances
- Mahkoche Kin: Land Tour by Darrell Red Cloud
- Living Treasures Cultural Exchange
- Artist In Residence
- Legends In Light Laser Show
- Gift from Mother Earth Art Show
- Native Americans' Day
10 Facts About Crazy Horse Memorial
1. Crazy Horse Memorial is the world’s largest mountain carving at 563 feet long and 641 feet high.
2. The monument has been in progress since 1948 and has no estimated completion date.
3. The memorial will depict the Lakota Sioux leader, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing into the distance with his right arm while his left hand is stretched toward his people.
4. It was Korczak Ziolkowski’s vision to create a memorial for Native American culture and inspire young people of all cultures by showing them that an individual has the power to make a difference.
5. Crazy Horse was a humble man who probably would not want his likeness carved into a mountain. Ziolkowski believed it would be the best way to depict his spirit and legacy.
6. The massive undertaking may take 100 years or more to complete.
7. Approximately 22 million pounds of granite have been removed from the project thus far!
8. Crazy Horse Memorial is located in South Dakota near the Black Hills National Forest and Mount Rushmore National Monument.
9. It is owned and operated by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1947 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and his wife, Ruth Ziolkowski.
10. Since its inception, hundreds of people have helped work on chiseling away at the mountain, including members of the Ziolkowski family and volunteers from around the world.
Who is Crazy Horse?
Inspired by one of the most incredible heroes of the Oglala Lakota, Crazy Horse is a work in progress and a monumental undertaking. After Mount Rushmore was carved, Chief Henry Standing Bear approached Korczak Ziolkowski to carve their great hero. it wasn't to be right away, as Korczak enlisted in the army to fight in World War II.
After two injuries, and the war was over, Korczak was offered to carve great sculptures depicting war heroes and battles throughout Europe, but in the end he thought it would be better to tell the story of a great people. Beginning with $174, construction started on the monument in 1948 and continues on to this day.
The story of this building, the people behind it and the struggles faced in carving the mountain can be found at the visitors center. This is quite possibly the best visitors center in all the Black Hills. It offers an in depth film, artifacts of the Lakota, depictions of the final project, a gift shop and a restaurant. This monument is so large, that all four Presidents can fit inside the head of Crazy Horse.
Chief Crazy Horse had an impossible situation. He could fight protecting the way of life of the Lakota perhaps to the very end of his people, or he could lead the tribe into the hands of the U.S. Army and be forced to live on the reservation, potentially losing the way of the Lakota Life.
Crazy Horse decided in the end that he had to surrender, and left for the Red Cloud Agency. Before surrendering, Crazy Horse along with He Dog, Little Big Man and Iron Crow met to perform a ceremony preparing before turning himself over. General Crook gave orders that Crazy Horse be arrested and taken to an Army Division after his surrender. Although there are conflicting accounts, it is generally accepted that a U.S. Army Guard was responsible for bayonetting Crazy Horse, who died later that evening on September 5, 1877.