Getting this project underway was a challenge all by itself. Once Doane Robinson and others had found a sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, they had to get permission to do the carving. Senator Peter Norbeck and Congressman William Williamson were instrumental in getting the legislation passed to allow the carving. Williamson drafted two bills, one each to be introduced in the United States Congress and the South Dakota Legislature. The bill requesting permission to use federal land for the memorial easily passed through Congress. The bill sent to the South Dakota Legislature faced more opposition. The Mount Harney National Memorial bill was defeated twice before narrowly passing. Governor Gunderson signed the bill on March 5, 1925, and established the Mount Harney Memorial Association later that summer.
Although you might not know it by driving down Winter Street, known as “The Strip,” Keystone is one of the Black Hills’ oldest towns, with a rich history that dates back to the earliest days of the Great Black Hills Gold Rush.
Take a drive down Madill Street, and you'll see Old Keystone, with historic buildings, shuttered mines and an Old West history that rivals Deadwood, Custer, Rapid City and Hill City. The story of Keystone is a story of a resilient little city that refused to become a ghost town.
In 1911, Carrie Ingalls arrived in Keystone to manage the Keystone Recorder and other Black Hills newspapers. No one knew it at the time -- not even the Carrie – but she would become Keystone’s most famous citizen.
Her older sister, Laura Ingalls Wilder, published the first of her “Little House on the Prairie” books in 1932. Laura chronicled the pioneer life of the Ingalls family, including her older sister Mary and younger sister Carrie.
The family settled near De Smet, S.D., in 1879, and Carrie spent the rest of her life in South Dakota. By the time she moved to Keystone, Carrie was 41 and a veteran newspaperwoman. On Aug. 1, 1912, she married David Swanzey and quit her job to raise her stepchildren. She lived in Keystone until her death in 1946. At the free Keystone Historical Museum, you can learn more about the 35 years Carrie spent in Keystone.