The Homestake Visitor Center is located at 160 West Main Street in the nearby town of Lead, South Dakota and is open Monday through Saturday. This is a good place to learn about the history of gold mining in the area. The Black Hills was the location of the last great gold rush in the continental United States. The wealthy George Hearst purchased the Homestake Mine in 1877. Digging 8,000 feet below the earth’ surface, 40 million troy ounces of gold were mined before it closed. This made it the largest gold mine in the western hemisphere, as well as the oldest in the world. You will see a small display, and a massive man-made bowl that is the open cut of the mine. This bowl measures 1,250 feet deep and one-half mile across. This open pit mine area was mined until 1998. Tours are available from Memorial Day in May through Labor Day in September. These are surface tours that start at the visitor center and will explain the history of the open cut and the story of Homestake. The bus tour will take you through the city of Lead and onto the grounds of the mine where your guide will explain the buildings and how the gold was processed. Even if you choose not to take the tour, you can still view the small display, and look into the open mine from the visitor center.
About 17 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore and a few miles north of Custer SD on US-16 is the still incomplete memorial to Crazy Horse, which was begun by Boston-born Korczak Ziolkowski about the time Rushmore was finished. Ziolkowski was on the staff of Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum, but unlike his better-known fellow artist, Ziolkowski nearly killed himself trying to do the majority of the work, which has removed over a million tons of rock but has only yielded the Sioux chief's face and vague outline. Crazy Horse's mount is still an odd outline in the granite of this Black Hills mountaintop, Thunderhead Mountain. This is still a work in progress, and if completed, it will be a full-figured memorial compared to which Mount Rushmore is only a quartet of granite busts.