Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the most popular landmarks of the United States of America or the USA. Bearing the heads of four prominent presidents of the USA, this monument has appeared in several movies, advertisements, spoofs, etc. Located in South Dakota, around three million visitors from all around the world come to see this memorial every year. While the structure is unique in every way, there are several interesting things about Mount Rushmore that many do not know. If you have ever been to this memorial or have been fascinated by just seeing the pictures, enlighten yourself with these interesting Mount Rushmore facts.
• Mount Rushmore is named after a New York lawyer, Charles E. Rushmore, who while visiting the Black Hills in Keystone, inquired the name of this particular mountain. As the mountain had no name, the guide called it Mount Rushmore. Today, it is also popularly known as the Presidents’ Mountain.
• Historian Doane Robinson came up with the idea of creating a sculpture in the Black Hills because he wanted to attract tourists to South Dakota.
•The four American presidents on Mount Rushmore are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. These four presidents were chosen because of the role they played in founding, expanding, preserving and unifying the USA.
• Mount Rushmore stands at the height of 5725 ft and the particular mountain was chosen for its grand location. The sculptures of the presidents are carved on the granite mountains because it was believed that due to the high quality of the granite, the sculptures would have a long life.
• The project of carving the presidents was commissioned to a renowned Dutch-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum.
• It took 14 years to complete the work. The work on the mountains started on October 4′ 1927 and ended on October 31′ 1941. Unfortunately, Gutzon Borglum died six months before the completion of the project. His son brought the project to fruition.
• Almost 400 workers were involved in the work of this massive project. Surprisingly, no worker suffered any major injury or death, in spite of the great height of the mountain and other dangerous conditions.
• Most of the granite (almost 8 million pounds) was removed using a dynamite called powder monkey. This was followed by a process called honeycombing. Pointing machine, a tool designed by Borglim, was used to mark the image of the Presidents on the mountain.
• The face of each of the President is same as the height of a six-story building. While their noses are 20 ft long, their eyes are 11 ft across. The width of their mouths is around 18 ft.
• The original plan went through nine changes until the time of completion. The original plan included the image of the presidents from the head to the waist. However, due to shortage of funds, only the heads of the presidents were carved on the mountain.
• Another major change that happened during the construction of the memorial is the position of President Jefferson’s sculpture. Thomas Jefferson was supposed to be on the right of George Washington. However, after months of work, the rock was found to be too thin and unsuitable. Hence, it was dynamited and a new sculpture was made on the left of George Washington.
• The sculptor wanted to carve a few inscriptions along with the image of the presidents on the mountain. However, this plan was abandoned due to two reasons. One: lack of funding, and two: the fact that it would not be seen from a distance. Gutzon called these inscriptions Entablature.
• Gutzon Borglum had also planned a Hall of Records just behind the head of Abraham Lincoln. He wanted to create 16 enamel panels to place the greatest historical documents and artifacts of America in the hall. He started the work and a tunnel of 70 feet was dug into the stone. However, work was stopped due to insufficient funds. Nevertheless, efforts to complete the work started in 1998 and today you would find historical and biographical information about Mount Rushmore and the Presidents and several other documents and texts in the hall. They all are preserved in a teakwood box, inside a titanium vault.
• A bill mentioning the need to add the image of Susan B. Anthony, women’s right leader, was introduced to the Congress in 1937. However, it was not passed and the Congress stuck to the original plan.
• Today, the memorial includes a museum, a visitor centre and the Presidential Trail. There is also the Grand View Terrace, right above the museum, which gives the best view of the four Presidents.
• An inch of the memorial would be lost every 10,000 years due to erosion.
Hope these facts about Mount Rushmore National Memorial would have piqued your interest to see this intriguing monument. So, do visit South Dakota to view this amazing man-made marvel.