You would think that an international icon like Mount Rushmore would have been named for an individual whose contributions to the development of the West merited such an honor. Pikes Peak is named for explorer Zebulon Pike. Terry Peak is named for the Civil War hero Gen. Alfred Terry.
That’s not the case for Mount Rushmore. It was named for Charles E. Rushmore, a New York attorney who was sent to Dakota Territory in 1884 to do some legal work. One day he and Bill Challis were headed to back to camp, and Rushmore asked if that rock outcropping over there had a name.
Did you know there’s a secret tunnel behind the Mount Rushmore carving? Sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s grand plan was to create a Hall of Records, a large room carved into the granite rock face behind the carving. The room would be a place where future generations could learn and understand why these four men were honored in this way. It would be an indelible history of America, carved into granite.
However, his vision for the Hall of Records was not realized. Not completely, and not for more that 50 years.
But that could change at any second in Keystone. With our altitude and the nature of Black Hills weather patterns, we are blessed with the occasional Chinook wind in the middle of winter.
Chinooks can range from a gentle puff of warm air to a rush of heat. They always bring a significant change in temperature.
How significant? Spearfish, to the north of Keystone, has held the world record for temperature change for more than seven decades. On the morning of Jan. 22, 1943, the temperature in Spearfish rose from -4 degrees to +45 degrees in just two minutes. That's a 49-degree change. Drivers had to stop in the middle of the street because their windshields suddenly frosted over.
A few flakes of snow were visible today, not an unexpected sight in the Black Hills of South Dakota on Nov. 18. But snow does stir the heart, because the Black Hills are as much fun in the winter as they are in the summer. More fun, a few diehard souls would argue.