We saved the best for last. Our last journey in western South Dakota was Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood.
Mt. Rushmore was incredible. From learning all about the sculptor to seeing it in person was overwhelming and a journey I'll never forget.
Below are some FAQs about Mt Rushmore that explain it so much better than I ever could:
Mt Rushmore Presidents – FAQs and Facts(Editor’s Note – This original post from December 2015 has been updated to reflect current Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone tour activities.)
Where is Mount Rushmore? Mount Rushmore was carved out of a granite rock face in the Black Hills of South Dakota, USA.
Who Built Mount Rushmore? Gutzon Borglum, a master sculpture, conceived and carved Mount Rushmore Memorial. He was assisted by over 400 other rock carvers and explosive experts.
When Was Mount Rushmore Built? Construction of the Black Hills granite rock faced mountain near Keystone South Dakota began in 1927 when Borglum was 60 years old. The sculptures of the Mount Rushmore presidents were not completed when Borglum died in 1941.
Why Did They Carve Mount Rushmore? Master carver Gutzon Borglum created Mount Rushmore to commemorate America’s first 150 years as a free country. In his own words, Borglum states that the four Mount Rushmore presidents were chosen to, “Commemorate the founding, growth, preservation, and development to the United States of America.”
Who are the Mount Rushmore Presidents? Below, is a list of the four Mount Rushmore presidents’ names, along with the dates for their terms in office:
- George Washington (US President from 1789 to 97)
- Thomas Jefferson (US President from 1801 to 09)
- Abraham Lincoln (US President from 1861 to 65)
- Theodore Roosevelt (US President from 1901 to 09)
The United States of America came into being in 1776 and turned 240 years old on July 1st, 2016. Mount Rushmore represents the presidents from each important era spanning 150 years during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
George Washington: President Washington was selected because of his efforts towards democracy in the United States.
Thomas Jefferson: President Jefferson was chosen for his authorship of the Declaration of Independence.
Abraham Lincoln: President Lincoln was chosen because he was responsible for the end of slavery in the United States.
Theodore Roosevelt: President Roosevelt was a personal choice of Borglum’s and was chosen because of his contributions to business, conservation and the creation of the Panama Canal.
11 Mount Rushmore Facts You May Not Know
The sculpted heads of the four American presidents at Mount Rushmore are 60 feet (18.29 meters) high. Here are some answers to some of the most common questions plus a few other interesting facts about Mount Rushmore Monument:
- Sculpter Gutzon Borglum was 60 when he began work on Mt Rushmore
- Mount Rushmore presidents took 14 years to complete
- Mount Rushmore cost less than 1 million dollar to make (over 17 million in today’s dollars)
- Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was assisted by over 400 workers
- In all, there are 506 steps to reach the summit of Mt Rushmore
- The Mount Rushmore sculpture was completed safely with no casualties
- Mount Rushmore is approximately 465 feet in total height
- Each of the eyes of the Mount Rushmore presidents are 11 feet wide
- Each of the president’s noses are about 20 feet high
- Each president’s mouth is about 18 feet wide
- The elevation of Mount Rushmore monument is about 5,500 feet above sea level
Mount Rushmore Construction
The rock face carving required exceptional talent and precise craftsmanship, and it was definitely very difficult to complete the construction of this historical landmark. The construction workers first began sculpting Mount Rushmore with egg-shaped masses of rock. Huge boulders were cleared with the use of dynamite to carve out the general shapes of the Mount Rushmore presidents’ heads. To finish the sculpture, Gutzon Borglum and his crew had to remove approximately 400 thousand tons of rock from the site.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial rests on more than 500 hectares of land and is part of the Mount Rushmore National Park, under the management of the National Park Service. Nearly 3 million tourists visit Mount Rushmore annually.