Facts About Mount Rushmore Just For Presidents Day
It’s President’s Day in the next couple of days and what better way to commemorate President George Washington‘s birthday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and all the rest of our presidents than to give some facts about Mount Rushmore. This American monument is carved on Mount Rushmore, which was named after a New York lawyer. He was sent to the Black Hills who was investigating mining titles in the area. When asked what the name of this mountain was, the lawyer’s guide supposedly said “Rushmore.”
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the carving was started in 1927 and completed in 1941. Doane Robinson was trying to energize tourism to the Black Hills, and after visiting Georgia and viewing the Confederate Monument that was carved into Stone Mountain. Gutzon Borglum was selected as the sculptor for the monument, and he had also worked on the Stone Mountain project. Borglum suggested Mount Rushmore’s south facing slope so his sculpture would be in the sunlight most of the day.
Each of the four Presidents were very specifically selected. George Washington was selected to represent democracy in the United States. Thomas Jefferson was selected to represent for his authorship of the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln brought an end to slavery. And, the most controversial choice was Theodore Roosevelt. And, he was picked for his efforts of the Panama Canal and his conservationism.
The monument took 14 years to complete. About 90 percent of the carving was done with strategically placed dynamite. This was done until there was only a three to 6 inch layer of granite left on the mountain. The 400 workers who worked on the mountain used air-hammers, wedges, nails, jackhammers, chisels, etc., to carve the Presidents’ likenesses into the granite. Through a process known as “honeycombing,” the final layer of granite was removed and the stone was polished to leave the faces smooth and refined. About 450,000 tons of granite was removed from the mountain.
The original concept was to have the Presidents depicted from head to waist, however, funding was depleted and quality granite was no longer available on the mountain. Even with the heavy use of dynamite, no one was killed or seriously hurt during this project. Unfortunately, Borglum died unexpectedly before the project was done. His son, Lincoln, took over the reigns and in October 1941 declared the project completed.
The monument is open free to the public, however, there is a fee to park your vehicle on the grounds. It draws over two million visitors annually.
Whether you plan on visiting this breath-taking monument over Spring Break or later this summer, it is one vacation that will last in your kids’ minds for a lifetime.
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