Continued Progress on the Memorial: 1988-98
The decade between 1988 and 1998 was one of great progress on Crazy Horse Memorial. During this time, support for the various facets of the project would increase, work on the mountain would push toward a historic unveiling, and Ruth Ziolkowski would be recognized for her continued determination and leadership.
In 1988, signaling a shift in focus on the carving, the “Slow Man at Work” scaffold in front of the face was removed. The following year, a pointing system was used for the first time, while a 3,300 degree finishing torch also became part of the tools used to carve the mountain. Through 1990, Crazy Horse’s forehead was rough-finished and his right eye opened. Detail work on the face continued with the eye brows blocked out and the nose roughed. Subsequently, by 1992, Ruth projected that the face of Crazy Horse would be completed by the year 2000.
In 1993, Crazy Horse’s eye lids were carved, his eyebrows shaped, and the rock beneath his nose was removed. In 1994, his nose lobes were defined and the tip of his nose rounded, while his upper checks were cut, rounded, and polished. Also, in 1994, a fiberglass cast of the Crazy Horse 1/34th scale model was created to facilitate computer imaging programs for measuring, while in 1995, the nose and cheekbone areas were completed. In 1996, Crazy Horse’s mouth was blocked out. In 1997, the chin and right jawline was defined, while the lips and left part of the chin were finished. As a series of mild winters allow for further advancement of the carving, Ruth revised her projection for completion of the face to 1998.
Support for the Crazy Horse project came in many different forms during this decade including donations to the museum, financial contributions to the scholarship fund, and donations of much-appreciated items. For example, in 1988, Apple Computer, Inc. donated the first computer for the development of a computer assisted design program to augment measuring on the mountain, while the US WEST Foundation pledged $50,000.00 to the scholarship fund. In 1989, the Rose collection was donated to the museum. In 1991, the mountain was blessed in four spiritual ceremonies by Lakota, Minataree, and Shawnee leaders, while during that same year, a pipe believed to have been used by Crazy Horse was donated to the Memorial. In addition, 1991 saw Lloyd Duggins of Mauckport, Indiana, who had never visited Crazy Horse, bequeath $230,000 to the project.
In 1992, a benefit concert on October 20th by tenor White Eagle and pianist David Strickland commemorated the dual anniversaries of the 150 anniversary of the birth of Crazy Horse and the 10th anniversary of the death of Korczak. In 1993, US West once again donated $50,000 – this time for the planned Native American Educational and Cultural Center. In 1994, the South Dakota Legislature authorized a larger-than-life-size bronze of Korczak’s “Fighting Stallions,” which was unveiled on April 19 on the state capitol grounds in Pierre, SD, in order to commemorate the untimely death of eight plane crash victims – including Governor George S. Mickelson in 1993. In 1996, the Joe Day Collections were bequeathed to museum, and the Edward S. Curtis print collection was donated to the museum by Bill Turner. 1996 also marked the 50th anniversary of Korczak and Standing Bear choosing the mountain.
Ultimately, during the decade between 1988 and 1998, support for the Crazy Horse project was mirrored by support for the matriarch who had inherited the project. In 1991, Ruth was awarded an honorary doctorate from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for carrying on the dream of Crazy Horse Memorial. In addition, in 1997, the Freedom Forum “Free Spirit Award” was given to Ruth Ziolkowski with $100,000 stipend presented to Crazy Horse Memorial. Perhaps the most notable tribute to Ruth Ziolkowski and her determination and leadership would come on June 3rd, 1998, the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Memorial as this would be when the face of Crazy Horse finally emerged from the lasting granite of the Paha Sapa . . .
This article is the twenty-sixth installment of a periodic chronology that will be published by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation on the history of the Memorial.
By: Dr. Jason Murray for the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation