The Landmark Mammoth Project began in 2003 when Hot Springs developer, Steve Simunek and retired General Motors vice president, John Rock were brainstorming about how to put the town of Hot Springs, South Dakota on the map Why not a mammoth Mammoth?
The pair was riding in Simunek’s truck and pulled up next to sculptor Gary DuChateau in his truck at a stop sign. Simunek hollered out the window at DuChateau, and a classic “South Dakota Roadside Conference” began. Both drivers turned off their engines right there at the intersection and the three began to discuss just what it would take to make the massive idea a reality.
DuChateau began research on the Woolly Mammoth and constructed a 12-inch model that was cast in a limited bronze edition. He then enlarged the piece to 4 feet tall and used it to point-up the pieces of the 9 times larger final statue.
A hill at the northwest corner of the HWY 79/HWY 18 intersection provided great visibility and was an ideal site for the monumentally eye-catching Mammoth sculpture. It also had space for the creation of the tourist destination that the team had ultimately envisioned. By 2005, construction was well underway. The majestic monster was scaled at 3 times life-size, making it 36 feet tall, and 50 feet long and reinforced concrete columns extend 38 feet into the ground to anchor the beast.
Construction was delayed by the economic consequences of the real estate crash of 2008, but due to recent fund raising efforts another 6 feet was installed in the summer of 2017, completing most of the mammoth body and reaching 25’ in height. Plans are underway to create a Non-profit Organization to continue working on the project.
The Mammoth Project