Presidents Day: Rushmore Goes Yorba Linda

Meet a few of our great Commanders-in-Chiefs at the Nixon Library.

THE CARVING OF MOUNT RUSHMORE... was, and is, without quibble, one of the great engineering and construction and vision-important feats of the 20th century, or any century that came before (or to come). Sculpting out four visages in a colossal amount of vertical, or mostly vertical, granite in the Black Hills of South Dakota amazed a rapt public in the late 1920s and '30s, and still wows visitors today. Those visitors, though, might spend their time pondering whether Mount Rushmore is more of an engineering wonder or a mammoth work of art, given that most engineering marvels don't come with noses and eyeglasses and chins.

IN SHORT... there are people on the side of that mountain, and not just any people but four of our United States Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lincoln. The quartet's presence on the side of the mountain in the Black Hills has added to their lofty legacy, but they were people, with ideas and thoughts. You can get to know those four presidents, and who they were as leaders in their day, not in South Dakota but in Yorba Linda on Monday, Feb. 16.

PRESIDENTS DAY... is always a big day at the Nixon Library, and, as is tradition, the four presidents seen on Mount Rushmore will find their way here, to Southern California, to meet library visitors and lend the holiday some pomp and presidential history. And as is tradition -- tasty tradition -- the first 100 people to arrive at the gardens-and-exhibits institution will receive a free piece of cherry pie. (No word if President Washington, who is much associated with the cherry tree legend, will indulge.) You can register for the Presidents Day Celebration here, but stow your dollars (the ones with the presidential visages on them): The celebration is free.

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