For those who don’t know, Mount Rushmore, which is officially called Mount Rushmore National Memorial, is a giant granite sculpture featuring the faces of four former US presidents. Often referred to as the President’s Mountain, it is a shrine of democracy, telling the story of birth, prosperity, development, and preservation of the United States of America.
Over the years, the sculpture has transformed into a much-loved tourist destination, drawing millions of visitors from near and far. If you are looking for questions like where is Mount Rushmore located, when was it built and who built it, then all you have to do is keep reading.
Where is Mount Rushmore?
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located in the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota. It lies in the Keystone town, of the Black Hills region of the Pennington County.
(Image Courtesy: Encyclopedia Britannica)
Who Built Mount Rushmore and Why?
The idea of constructing an iconic sculpture originated in the mind of Doane Robinson, a historian who wanted to lure tourists from all over the world to his state of South Dakota. Known as the Father of Mount Rushmore, Doane got in touch with a sculptor named Gutzon Borglum, who was at that time working on Stone Mountain in Georgia. The two got together in 1924 and 1925, and after Gutzon had zeroed in on the perfect site for the monument and the funds required for it was raised, he started the work in 1927.
(Image Courtesy: Rapid City)
The sculpture, wherein each head is 60 feet tall wasn’t easily built. It took 400 men and women who worked in hazardous conditions and 14 years to bring Robinson’s idea to life. A total of 450,000 tons of rock had to be removed to carve the giant heads.
Which Presidents Are On Mount Rushmore And How Were They Selected?
Borglum himself selected the four presidents whose face would be carved on the hill. While George Washington was chosen primarily because he was the first president of the US and laid the foundation of democracy in the country, Thomas Jefferson, who penned the Declaration of Independence and expanded the nation with Louisiana purchase was selected owing to his contributions to a better US. Theodore Roosevelt, who represents the industrial development of the country, and Abraham Lincoln, who played the most significant role in abolishing slavery, also have their face carved in granite rock.
(Image Courtesy: Mount Rushmore)
But no matter where is Mount Rushmore located, who built it, why and when, the fact is that it is one of the most visited tourists' attractions in the country, thronged by more than 2 million visitors every year. It represents the strong foundation of the US democracy and its rich legacy. Before you go, here are some interesting facts that you ought to know about the edifice.
#1. The initial plan was to carve presidents from head to waist, but it was scrapped because of lack of funding.
#2. Each face is as tall as a six-story building, with each eye as wide as 11 feet and noses 20-feet long.
#3. Dynamite and Borglum carve almost 90 percent of the sculpture by using a self-designed pointing machine to map the images on the rocky mountain.
#4. After two initial years of work on Jefferson's face, it was found that the rock was unsuitable for the sculpture and hence was completely erased using dynamite.
#5. Gutzon Borglum, the chief sculptor, died in March 1941 before the work on the sculpture could be completed. Therefore, his son Lincoln took charge and finished it later that year.
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(Featured image Courtesy: South Dakota Tourism)