History of Mount Rushmore
KEY FACTS ABOUT MOUNT RUSHMORE
History of Mount Rushmore! Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hill of Keystone, South Dakota. A statue of four famous presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln — has been carved into the granite rock face over many decades.
- Fast Facts: Mount Rushmore
- History of Mount Rushmore National Park
- Why was each of the four presidents chosen?
- dynamite sculpture
- Design changes
- Jefferson moved
- Borglum facts
- The origin of the name of the mountain
Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota. A statue of four famous presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln — has been carved into the granite rock face over many decades. According to the National Park Service, about 3 million people visit the memorial each year.
Fast Facts: Mount Rushmore
Location: near Rapid City, South Dakota
Artist: Gutzon Borglum. He died seven months before he was finished. Lincoln’s son completed it.
Size: The height of the heads’ faces is 60 feet.
Material: granite rock face
History of Mount Rushmore National Park
History of Mount Rushmore! Mount Rushmore National Park was the brainchild of Duane Robinson, known as “the father of Mount Rushmore.” His goal was to create an attraction that would attract people from all over the country to his state. Robinson contacted Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who had been working on the monument in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Borglum met Robinson between 1924 and 1925. He was the one who identified Mount Rushmore as the ideal site for a large memorial. This was due to the height of the cliff above the surrounding area; Its composition is granite, which will be slow to erode; And being southeast facing, take advantage of the sunrise every day. Robinson worked with John Boland, President Calvin Coolidge, Representative William Williamson, and Senator Peter Norbeck for support in Congress and funding going forward.
Congress agreed to match up to $250,000 in funding for the project and established the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Committee. Work began, and by 1933 the Mount Rushmore project became part of the National Park Service. Borglum did not like that NPS supervised the construction. However, he continued to work on the project until his death in 1941. The monument was deemed complete and ready for assignment on October 31, 1941. The final cost was nearly $1 million.
Why was each of the four presidents chosen?
Borglum made the decision as to which chiefs would be included on the mountain. According to the National Park Service, here are its reasons:
- George Washington: He was the first president and represented the foundation of American democracy.
- Thomas Jefferson: With the Louisiana Purchase, he greatly expanded the nation. He was also the author of the Declaration of Independence, which had a huge impact.
- Theodore Roosevelt: He represented not only the industrial development of the nation but also his conservation efforts.
- Abraham Lincoln: As president during the American Civil War, he represented preserving the nation above all costs.
With 450,000 tons of granite to be removed, the sculptor discovered early on that jackhammers wouldn’t do the job fast enough. He hired a munitions expert to insert a charge of dynamite into the drilled holes and blow up the boulders when the workers were away from the mountain. In the end, 90% of the granite was removed from the surface of the rock with dynamite.
During production, the design underwent nine changes.
What appears is not exactly how the sculptor Borglum conceived the statue, who also had plans to etch the craftsmanship into the face of the rock, called Entablature. It was meant to contain a brief history of the United States, highlighting nine important events between 1776 and 1906, carved into a picture of the Louisiana Purchase. Due to issues with drafting, financing, and the fact that people wouldn’t be able to read it from a distance, this idea was scrapped.
Hall of Records
Another plan was to have the Hall of Records in a room behind Lincoln’s head that the public could access via a staircase from the base of the mountain. Important documents will be on display in a room decorated with mosaics. It was also discontinued in 1939 due to a lack of funding. Congress required the artist to focus on and perform faces. The tunnel is what remains. It houses some ceramic panels which give a background on the construction of the monument, the artist, and the chiefs, but it is inaccessible to the visitors due to the lack of a staircase.
The four design models include heads from the waist up. Funding was absolutely an issue, and guidance was just sticking to the four faces.
Originally Thomas Jefferson to the right of George Washington began sculpting Jefferson’s face in 1931. However, the granite there was full of quartz. Workers continued blasting quartzites, but after 18 months they realized the site was not working. His face was dismantled with dynamite and carved on the other side.
Workers dangle from 3/8-inch steel cable into bosun chairs as they work with jackhammers, drills, chisels, and dynamite loads. To their credit, no one died while building Mount Rushmore — or destroying the mountain, as the case may be. A crew of four hundred worked on the sculpture.
Gutzon Borglum studied in Paris and became friends with Auguste Rodin, who strongly influenced the young artist. Borglum was the first American sculptor to have his work purchased from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Although Borglum began sculpting in Stone Mountain, Georgia, he never completed it. He left on poor terms, and his business was wiped away from the face of the mountain. Another sculptor, Augustus Lockman, was called in to finish the work.
Borglum was often away while carving Mount Rushmore. While it was completed, he also made a sculpture of Thomas Paine for Paris and Woodrow Wilson in Poland. His son supervised the work on the mountain while he was away.
When he was on site, he was known for his mood swings and was constantly firing and rehiring people. His energy for the project and his perseverance, through many years of trials and issues with financing, eventually led to the project being completed. Unfortunately, he died seven months before completion. His son completed it.
The origin of the name of the mountain
The mountain took its name — incredibly — from a New York attorney there for a business who asked for the name of the site in 1884 or 1885. A local man with the group looking at the mountain told him it had no name but said, “We’ll call it now, and we’ll call it Rushmore Peak.”,” according to a letter from Charles Rushmore, an attorney who was in the area for a client looking for a mine.
View Article Sources
- “Mount Rushmore National Monument (US National Park Service)”. National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.
- “Memorial History.” National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.
- “Mount Rushmore Student’s Guide.” National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.
- “Sculpting History.” National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.