Meet Four Prominent Presidents at Mount Rushmore National Memorial
If you are searching your mind for a fun, but educational, vacation experience for your family, then take a trip to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Most of us know that Mount Rushmore National Memorial is home to the faces of four of our greatest, and most influential, United States Presidents. So, let’s explore a little bit of this historical treasure, then you will be ready for your visit.
Some History Behind Mount Rushmore National Memorial
And it All Began as a Tourist AttractionCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mount_Rushmore.jpg
The present day Mount Rushmore National Memorial has its origins with one man – a historian and South Dakota resident. Doane Robinson, a member of the South Dakota Historical Society, envisioned the carving of grand sculptures of prominent people into the rock of the Black Hills. Robinson envisioned tourists coming from hundreds of miles, to his state, to gaze in wonder at these grand sculptures.
Robinson’s dream, fueled by his determination to see it happen, moved towards reality with the help and support of South Dakota State Senator, Peter Norbeck. Senator Norbeck helped to get the massive project Federal backing.Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Six_Grandfathers.jpg
A Sculptor and Four Presidents
Robinson chose sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who had been working on a bas-relief piece on a mountain in Georgia, honoring Confederate war heroes, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. When Borglum consulted on Robinson’s project, he suggested that four well-known Presidents’ faces be carved in the Black Hills.
“Gutzon Borglum chose four presidents to carve on the mountain, because to him they represented the first 150 years of American History.
Washington, being our first president represents the BIRTH of our country.
Jefferson symbolizes the EXPANSION of the nation, he is credited with Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Lincoln embodies the PRESERVATION of the nation in confronting the challenges of the Civil War.
Theodore Roosevelt represents the DEVELOPMENT of our country. He promoted construction of the Panama Canal.”
Mount Rushmore Facts, Important Dates, and Trivia
- The mountain, that is Mount Rushmore Memorial, was named after Charles E. Rushmore. In 1885, Mr. Rushmore, an attorney practicing in New York City, visited the area, conducting a title search exploration for his clients. Because the prospectors, who were working the mines in the area, liked Mr. Rushmore, they recorded the name as ‘Rushmore’ to the land office.
- Work on Mount Rushmore National Memorial lasted from October 1927 to October 1941.
- Gutzon Borglum’s son, Lincoln, who was named in honor of his father’s favorite President, Abraham Lincoln, grew up at the site, and he eventually came to work beside his father as a sculptor. And when his father passed, he saw the project to its completion.
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial joined the National Park Service in 1933.
- During the year 1937, there was talk of sculpting the head of women’s suffrage leader, Susan B. Anthony, along with the Presidents’ heads, but Congress did not approve spending the extra money that would have been necessary to sculpt her.
- Considering approximately 400 people labored on this massive undertaking, not a single worker died during the construction of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
- Gutzon Borglum had grand dreams for Mount Rushmore. He’d hoped to extend the heads of the Presidents, by sculpting a body for them, down to about their waistline. Also, he had ideas for commemorating the Louisiana Purchase, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. There were even plans for what he called a Hall of Records, a tremendous vault of sorts where he hoped, one day, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would find a new home. So grand were his plans, he wanted to build stairs up to this Hall of Records, so it could be open to the public. Sadly, a shortage of money, and the prospect of World War II kept him, and his son, from fulfilling his full, lofty dreams for Mt. Rushmore.
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
- All total, it cost about $989,992.32 to craft Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and the Presidents' heads are as tall as a six story building.
- Annually, approximately three million people visit the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and it is South Dakota’s most popular destination for travelers.
Your Trip to Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Due to the cold, snowy winters of South Dakota, it’s easy to see that the summer months are the most popular times for visiting Mount Rushmore National Memorial. And in particular, the day of, and around, the Fourth of July is especially a busy time, due to the added festivities.
Except for Christmas Day, Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open everyday. For exact times, check out their website at:
Here you will find up-to-date hours and info on all the facilities at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, including: “Information Center and Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center,” “Evening Lighting Ceremony,” “Sculptor's Studio,” “Audio Tour Building,” “Gift Shop,” and “Carvers Café.”
There is no entrance charge to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, except for paying to park. See the chart on their web page for parking fees. (http://www.nps.gov/moru/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm)
If you can’t wait to visit Mount Rushmore, and want to see it, today, they offer a WebCam on their website, where you can view the Memorial during the day, as well as see it illuminated at night. Check out their WebCam at this address: (http://www.sdpb.org/webcams/mtrushmore.aspx)
It has been many years since my husband, my daughter, and I traveled to see the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, while on a driving trip across country. Writing this article, as homage to all four great United States Presidents, as well as Gutzon Borglum, his son Lincoln, and all the many talented workers who made this majesty in the mountains come to life, has been a wonderful journey down memory road for me. I even uncovered some of our old photos, which sadly, weren’t taken with a digital camera, and thus are not easily downloadable to the Internet. And as I learned new tidbits of knowledge, through writing this article, I find myself eager to see this awesome National Park once again. So, please, make time to go see Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Where is Mount Rushmore?
In the Black Hills of South Dakota
Mt Rushmore National Memorial, Black Hills National Forest, 13000 Sd Highway 244