10 Facts About Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a large sculpture carved into the granite face of a mountain in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, United States.

It features the busts of four former American presidents:

  • George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Abraham Lincoln

The artist Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, were responsible for the conception of the artwork, and it was created over a period of more than 14 years, from 1927 to 1941.

Today, Mount Rushmore serves as both a famous tourist destination and a symbol of patriotism and national identity for the United States of America.

Mount Rushmore Facts

1. The four presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore

The four presidents represented on Mount Rushmore were chosen to represent pivotal times in American history as well as vital American principles and values.

The first president of the United States, George Washington, is known as the “Father of the Country.” His is the largest of the four faces and was carved to commemorate the birth of the United States, the country’s fight for independence, and the development of a new system of government. He’s dressed in a military uniform to represent his role as a leader in the American Revolution.

Mount Rushmore

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is most remembered for his contribution to the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

His visage was chosen to symbolize the country’s growth and progress, particularly its westward expansion. He is shown holding a book to represent his dedication to study and learning.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was an environmentalist and conservationist. His image was chosen to represent the country’s growth and preservation, particularly in terms of natural resources. He is shown wearing a Rough Rider hat and a big mustache, both of which were trademarks of his distinctive style.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is best remembered for his role in saving the Union during the Civil War and his devotion to the abolition of slavery.

His visage was chosen to symbolize the preservation of the country, notably in the areas of democracy and civil rights. He wears a coat and has a severe countenance, indicating his role as a leader during a tough period in American history.

The selection of these four presidents emphasizes American values and objectives, such as democracy, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. They reflect pivotal times in American history and serve as a reminder of the country’s problems and successes.

The four presidents’ faces etched into Mount Rushmore granite have become a symbol of American pride and identity.

2. The sculpture was designed by Danish-American sculptor

Gutzon Borglum, a significant pioneer in the realm of public art and monument design in the early twentieth century, designed the sculpture at Mount Rushmore.

Borglum was chosen for the project due to his competence in large-scale sculpture and his idea for the monument.

His son, Lincoln Borglum, and a crew of other experienced artisans, including stone carvers and dynamite experts, supported him.

The sculpture’s design was meticulously prepared in order to create an enduring and memorable symbol of American patriotism and national identity.

The four presidents’ faces were carved to capture their distinct looks and attributes, as well as to depict the crucial times and values that they represented.

In designing and building the sculpture, Borglum encountered a number of problems, including harsh labor circumstances, financial restraints, and the natural fragility of the rock face.

Today, the sculpture at Mount Rushmore stands as a tribute to Gutzon Borglum’s vision and craftsmanship, as well as the ideas and values that it embodies.

3. The project took more than 14 years to complete

The carving of Mount Rushmore was a massive undertaking that needed a huge amount of time, effort, and resources. The project began in 1927 and was not completed until 1941, a period of more than 14 years.

The artwork was carved using dynamite, jackhammers, and hand tools to remove almost 450,000 tons of granite rock from the mountain face.

The workers started by drilling small holes into the rock and then attaching dynamite charges. They’d next blast the rock, breaking it up into enormous chunks that could be removed with jackhammers and other hand equipment.

After establishing the rough shape of each face, the workers utilized more precise instruments to refine the features and produce the final contours. They would also use drills and chisels to add texture and depth to the faces, giving them a more realistic aspect.

Even with sophisticated tools and equipment, the work was extremely risky and laborious. Workers were had to swing from ropes or operate on perilous scaffolding, frequently high above ground.

They were subjected to adverse weather conditions such as strong temperatures and high gusts, and the task was physically demanding, frequently requiring them to work long hours with few breaks.

Over the course of 14 years, more than 400 workers contributed to the project’s completion. Despite the numerous problems they faced, they were able to produce one of the world’s most distinctive and identifiable landmarks.

Today, the Mount Rushmore sculpture is a treasured emblem of American history and national identity, as well as a monument to their skill, tenacity, and dedication.

Mount Rushmore

4. Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota

Mount Rushmore is located in South Dakota’s Black Hills region, which is a sacred spot for the Lakota Sioux Native American tribe.

The Lakota Sioux, who have lived in the area for generations, hold significant spiritual and cultural significance for the Black Hills, also known as Paha Sapa.

The United States signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie with a number of Native American tribes, including the Lakota Sioux, in 1868. The Great Sioux Reservation, which included the Black Hills, was established under the treaty.

However, in 1874, a military expedition commanded by General George Armstrong Custer discovered gold in the Black Hills, resulting in further pressure to remove Native Americans from the area.

In contravention of the Treaty of Fort Laramie and without the agreement of the Native American tribes, the United States unilaterally took the Black Hills from the Lakota Sioux in 1877.

The acquisition of the Black Hills was a major issue of controversy between the US and the Lakota Sioux, who regard the land as holy and continue to seek its restitution.

Some have denounced the Mount Rushmore sculpture in the Black Hills as a further violation of Native American rights and sovereignty.

The Lakota Sioux are still calling for the return of the Black Hills and recognition of their spiritual and cultural significance.

The ongoing battle over the Black Hills is a reminder of Native American peoples’ long history of injustice and oppression, as well as the continuous struggle for justice and equality.

5. The sculpture is carved into a granite face that rises 5,725 feet above sea level

At an elevation of around 5,725 feet above sea level, the granite face is elevated approximately 1,200 feet over the surrounding terrain.

The height of each of the four presidential faces etched into the granite is roughly 60 feet, and they are carved to a depth of around 20 feet.

The faces of each president, from George Washington’s severe look to Abraham Lincoln’s thoughtful stare, were painstakingly conceived and sculpted to represent the distinctive qualities and qualities that make each president special.

6. There were more faces planned but never completed

Gutzon Borglum had ambitious intentions for the Mount Rushmore sculpture, and he planned to include busts of several other historical people in addition to the four presidents.

These individuals were picked for their contributions to American history as well as their portrayal of vital ideas and goals.

Meriwether Lewis, who led the legendary Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806 alongside William Clark, was one of the figures Borglum originally planned to feature.

Lewis and Clark played an essential role in discovering and mapping the western United States, and their mission is regarded as one of the most important in American history.

Susan B. Anthony, a women’s rights campaigner, was another figure Borglum sought to add on the monument. Anthony was a significant figure in the women’s suffrage campaign and a staunch supporter of women’s rights and gender equality.

Despite Borglum’s aspirations, the project eventually ran into funding issues, and the plans to include further figures were scrapped. The sculptor and his team were compelled to concentrate their efforts on finishing the four presidential busts, which proved to be a massive feat in and of itself.

7. Mount Rushmore was created to boost tourism to the area

Doane Robinson, a South Dakota historian, came up with the idea for the Mount Rushmore sculpture while seeking for a method to stimulate tourism in the state.

Robinson met sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1923 with the notion of carving the faces of prominent figures from Western history into the Black Hills’ granite rocks.

Borglum was initially uninterested in the project, feeling it would be too difficult and expensive to complete. Robinson, on the other hand, was persistent, and he eventually persuaded Borglum to visit the Black Hills and examine the site for himself.

The magnificence of the Black Hills impressed Borglum instantly, and he was inspired by the concept of erecting a monument to honor the history and culture of the American West. He accepted the concept and began working with Robinson to seek funds and support for the artwork.

Borglum worked tirelessly for several years to create and plan the Mount Rushmore sculpture, while Robinson pushed the federal government and private contributors for funds.

Finally, in 1927, the project was officially launched, with Borglum and his team commencing the long and painstaking process of carving the four presidents’ faces into the Black Hills’ granite cliffs.

8. It receives more than 2 million visitors per year

Mount Rushmore is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, attracting over 2 million tourists per year. People travel from all over the world to see the spectacular sculpture, which has come to represent American pride and identity.

Visitors to Mount Rushmore can approach the monument via a picturesque journey through the Black Hills. The twisting roads that travel under tunnels and over bridges provide beautiful vistas of the surrounding scenery.

The route also includes various sites where visitors can learn more about the area’s history and culture, such as the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Black Hills National Forest, and Custer State Park.

When visitors arrive at Mount Rushmore, they can see the sculpture from a variety of perspectives. The primary viewing location is a vast amphitheater with unimpeded views of the artwork, and there are various hiking routes and overlooks for visitors to get a closer look.

9. It was built on a sacred Lakota Sioux spot

The mountain on which Gutzon Borglum chose to carve Mount Rushmore was known to the Lakota Sioux tribe as “The Six Grandfathers,” or “Tukáila ákpe” in Lakota.

For the Lakota, the mountain holds great spiritual and cultural significance, and it is regarded as one of the most holy spots in their traditional area.

The name “Six Grandfathers” relates to the mountain’s six conspicuous granite spires, each of which is thought to represent a different Lakota virtue: wisdom, courage, generosity, fortitude, patience, and compassion. The mountain is also linked to a variety of Lakota spiritual traditions and rites, such as vision quests and healing rituals.

The decision to carve Mount Rushmore into the Six Grandfathers sparked debate among the Lakota Sioux, who saw the mountain as a holy location that should be safeguarded and protected.

The carving of Mount Rushmore into the mountain has sparked outrage among Native American groups, who claim it was done without adequate consultation or respect for the Lakota Sioux people’s sacred heritage.

10. The mountain was named by a local prospector

The peak on which the Mount Rushmore sculpture is located is officially known as “Mount Rushmore,” and it was named for Charles E. Rushmore, a famous New York lawyer who was examining gold claims in the area in 1885.

Rushmore was visiting the Black Hills region of South Dakota when he asked a local prospector the name of a nearby mountain, according to local folklore.

The prospector, who was supposedly intoxicated at the time, joked that Rushmore was named after himself. The moniker persisted, and it finally became the mountain’s official name.