What is the story/facts behind Mount Rushmore?

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

Have you ever seen George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln watching us together? Yes, we are talking about the world famous mountain carving, Mt. Rushmore.

  • Located in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota the carving was the idea of South Dakota historian Doane Robinson in order to promote tourism in the region.

  • Robinson gained support from the congress and a funding of $250,000 had been released for the project. Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission was created.

  • Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927-1941.

  • Borglum identified Mt. Rushmore as a perfect location due to the cliff's height above the surrounding area, abundance of granite which would be slow to erode, south-east facing to take the advantage of rising sun each day.

  • The four presidents were finalized based on,

  1. George Washington: He was the first president and represented the foundation of American democracy.

  2. Thomas Jefferson: He greatly expanded the nation. He was also the author of the hugely influential Declaration of Independence. 

  3. Theodore Roosevelt: He not only represented the industrial development of the nation but was also widely known for conservation efforts. 

  4. Abraham Lincoln: As the president during the U.S. Civil War, he represents the preservation of the nation above all costs. 

  • Munition experts were hired and nearly 90% of the granite rocks were drilled and removed using dynamites.

  • The design and construction went through lot of changes due to the lack of funding. The completion costs nearly $1 million which was way more that what was initially promised.

  • A crew of 400 worked on the sculpture and to their credit, no one died during the construction. However, Borglum died 7 months before the completion of the project due to illness. His son Lincoln Borglum finished the project in 1941.

  • The mountain got its name in 1884 or 1885. It was named after the lawyer, Charles Rushmore who visits the area for researching the gold mine.

  • The entrance to the sculpture is greeted by an avenue of 56 flags. They represent the 50 states, one district, three territories, and two commonwealths of the United States of America.

  • The National monument attracts nearly 2.5 million tourists annually.