Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rapid City: Walking With The Presidents

Among the random things to do in the Rapid City area is the Presidents' Walk downtown.

Now, I could write a few different pieces about downtown Rapid City -- the food, Main Street Square, the summer events -- and some day I may even get around to doing just that. [Spoiler: I pretty much love it all.] For today, though, I'd like to highlight what my sister and I checked out this past weekend when we had a little time to kill.

Rapid City is best known for its proximity to Mount Rushmore, the carving completed in 1941 with four US presidents cut into the side of a mountain. [Quick: name the four presidents, from left to right, without looking it up. Bonus points if you can also name at least one reason each president was chosen.] Not surprisingly, there are quite a few other presidentially related attractions in the area that have come from Rushmore's popularity -- including the City of Presidents Walking Tour.

The corners of downtown Rapid host life-size bronze statues of each President (save whoever is currently in office -- that is to say, GW didn't go up till he was done, and Obama won't go up till 2017). They're scattered throughout downtown from 4th Street to 9th Street (so far) on Saint Joe and Main, the two one-way streets. They're also often purposely posed -- some of them take a generic stance, but others are pulled from photos or as a nod to other information.

As they are life-sized, it's great fun to wander and pose with them.

John Adams

James Monroe

Each statue was donated to the city by different Rapid City families.

James Madison, who was apparently quite short.

Bill Clinton. Which I hope you realized.

Ronald Reagan. He's actually laughing ... I'm telling him a joke. Really.

Andrew Johnson. It's ... unsettling.

John Quincy Adams. I think.

As it happens, there is also a companion book that has all sorts of stories about the personal lives of our nation's leaders. And ... it's absolutely fascinating.

Martin Van Buren ... the creepy guy on the bench.

William Howard Taft, who was the first president to throw out the first pitch of the MLB season.

Thomas Jefferson. You can actually read the entire Declaration of Independence there.
And he looks quite put-upon if you do.

I will happily admit that I've done this more than once -- and enjoyed it every time. It's a great way to spend a little time on a nice day downtown.

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