Mount Rushmore Wasn’t Built In A Day

Much like Rome, the American landmark Mount Rushmore wasn’t built in a day. This monument is a massive piece of American history, being one of the most prominent landmark projects forged and created by Americans.  

Mount Rushmore honors great American presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Each president represents an integral part of American history: George Washington was the first elected U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson was the third president credited for the Louisiana Purchase, Theodore Roosevelt the 26th president promoting the construction of the Panama Canal, and Abraham Lincoln the 16th president who passed the Emancipation Proclamation following the Civil War.  

The idea for the monument was born during the 1920s by South Dakota historian Doane Robinson with the goal of bringing tourists to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Robinson’s original vision wanted to pay tribute to American West historical figures such as the leader of the Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota, or Lewis and Clark.

Though Robinson had big plans, Gutzon Borglum,was chosen to be the sculptor for the new American landmark and settled on the concept to pay tribute to the commanders in chief. Borglum chose the four presidents that were monumental in building America.  

The sculpting began in 1927 with a 400-man team led by Borglum that was already a daunting task, and on top of that, workers traveled over 500 steps to reach the site. Workers blasted dynamite through 800 pounds of rock, and each sculpture was chiseled by hand using nails and hammers.  

The project spanned 14 years as the project started during the Great Depression and face significant delays during World War II. The lead sculptor Borglum passed away, and his son Lincoln continued in his honor with the monument completed in 1941.  

The project took more than 14 years to complete and $1 million in funding that would equate to over $11 billion with inflation. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial lies over 1,278 acres with an exquisite lodge at the mountain’s base with full glass windows facing the monument if you decide to visit during the winter.  

This national monument attracts 3 million visitors per year, and on your way to the monument, there are many stores and restaurants to visit that resemble the old west. It might not seem too big, but in person, the sculptures are massive. It’s highly recommended to visit during the summer when the skies are clear for the monument’s perfect view, which can be tricky during the winter with more clouds and snow.

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