Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

photo credit: dean.franklin via photopin cc

Did you know that Mt. Rushmore just celebrated its 73rd birthday? It was completed on Halloween (October 31) in 1941, after 14 years of construction. Here is some more information about Mt. Rushmore.

Where is Mt. Rushmore?

It is located in an area of South Dakota called the Black Hills.

Whose idea was it?

The idea for the Mt. Rushmore sculpture came from a man named Doane Robinson. He wanted to bring attention to his state, South Dakota, and invite more tourists to visit.

Who designed it?

An artist named Gutzon Borglum designed Mt. Rushmore. He was born near the area that is now South Dakota, but at that time, South Dakota was not a state. Borglum was born in 1867, and South Dakota became a state in 1889. Borglum studied art in Paris, where he became friends with the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin.

How big is it?

Mt. Rushmore is very big. The park is almost 2 square miles (more than 5 km). Each president’s face is 60 feet tall (as tall as a 6-floor building). Each president’s nose is about 20 feet long (6 meters). Their eyes are about 11 feet wide, and their mouths are about 18 feet wide. If they could open their mouths, your whole family could probably walk inside.

Which presidents are carved into the mountain?

The faces of 4 U.S. presidents are carved (cut) into the mountain. Each president represents an important time in U.S. history.

  • George Washington is there because he was the first president. He represents the beginning of the nation.
  • Thomas Jefferson is there because the United States doubled in size during his time in office. He represents the geographical expansion (growth) of the nation.
  • Abraham Lincoln was in office during the Civil War. He represents the time when the nation stayed together after almost separating.
  • The fourth president is Theodore Roosevelt. He was in office at the beginning of the 20th century, which was a time of great economic growth for the United States. Cars were being produced (the Ford Motor Company was established in 1903), men were learning to fly (the Wright brothers flew America’s first airplane in 1903), and more people were getting opportunities to succeed in business. Roosevelt also established the National Parks System, and Mt. Rushmore is a national park. For people in the early 1900s, Roosevelt would have represented the future of the nation.

How did they build it?

Four hundred men worked for 14 years to carve Mt. Rushmore. They used dynamite to break off giant pieces of rock. Then they used hammers and nails to make the details of the faces.

How much did it cost to build it?

It cost about 1 million dollars to build Mt. Rushmore. In today’s money, that would be more than $11 BILLION!!

How many people died while building it?

You might not believe this. NO ONE died while working on Mt. Rushmore. Well, the designer, Gutzon Borglum, died several months before the sculpture was completed, but he was 73 years old, so his death was not related to the construction of Mt. Rushmore. His son finished the project.