Mt. Rushmore

In the Black Hills of South Dakota stands the national memorial, Mount Rushmore, created by Gutzon Borglum. It was designed as a testament to the growth of America and its great leaders. This magnificent rock carving contains the 60 foot high faces of four great United States Presidents.

George Washington: First U.S. President, father of our country, and fighter for our independence and liberty
Thomas Jefferson: 3rd President, author of the Declaration of Independence, and advocate of westward expansion through the Louisiana Purchase
Theodore Roosevelt:

26th President who promoted construction of the Panama Canal linking the oceans, and believer in conservation and business reform

Abraham Lincoln: 16th President whose leadership restored the Union ending slavery on U.S. soil, and champion of freedom and equality for all

Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the 60-foot busts of of the four Presidents on Mount Rushmore "to commemorate the founding, growth, preservation and development of the United States."

The total cost of the Mount Rushmore memorial was almost a million dollars.

Borglum died in March 1941; the final dedication was not held until 50 years later. The head of Washington was completed first, followed by Jefferson and Lincoln. Roosevelt's head was unfinished when Borglum died. His son, Lincoln Borglum, supervised the completion of the heads, stopping in October 1941, right before our country entered World War II.

Interesting Factoids:

  • A New York lawyer named Charles E. Rushmore visited the Black Hills in 1885. He asked a local prospector the name of the 6,000 foot peak before them. Since the peak had no name, the prospector replied humorously, "Mount Rushmore." The name has never been changed since!
  • Gutzon began drilling into the mountain in 1927 at age 60.
  • President Coolidge dedicated the memorial, which took 14 years to build, although only 6 1/2 years were spent on actual carving.
  • The faces are 5,500 feet above sea level.
  • Each head on Mt. Rushmore is as tall as a six-story building.
  • More than 800 million pounds of stone were removed from Mt. Rushmore while carving the Presidents.
  • The Presidents' noses are 20 feet long, each mouth is 18 feet wide and the eyes are 11 feet across.
  • Borglum's original design was a sculpture of the four presidents to their waists, but time and money only provided for their heads.

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Page Created By
Jill Dembsky
Updated 9/2006

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