The Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Dakota Mountains is four colossal portraits of U.S. presidents carved right into a sheer wall-the most American work of art of all American wonders.
Mount Rushmore is a rather recognizable symbol of the United States. This landmark has appeared in a crazy number of movies, literary works, cartoons, anime and games. You’ve probably seen it in at least one of them. There are huge bas-reliefs of 4 U.S. presidents carved into the mountain. Each of the presidents made a huge contribution to the development of the country, so according to the developers of the project deserves to be immortalized in the granite rock.
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Video: Mount Rushmore
The history of Mount Rushmore
Apparently, this mountain was “born” to be a monument to great ancestors. Back in the days when this land was inhabited by a tribe of Indians known as the Lakota, this mountain already bore the name “The Six Forefathers.” Now, of course, they are not six, but still, Rushmore is a tribute to the ancestors. The former Mount Six Forefathers is located in South Dakota near the town of Keystone.
It got its modern name when the monument began to be built. The creation of the bas-reliefs began in 1927, and the mountain was renamed in 1930. And they did it again because of the creation of sculptures in the mountain. The businessman and philanthropist Charles Rushmore allocated the fabulous sum of $5,000 for the creation of four bas-reliefs of the presidents. It was the largest private investment of that time. In addition to that, he organized and paid for expeditions to this region of the United States and was a highly respected man in South Dakota. Therefore, in order to somehow thank the sponsor, it was decided to rename the mountain and name it after the patron of the arts.
The sculptor Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to work on the project, but it was John Robinson, president of the South Dakota Historical Society, who came up with the idea of erecting the monument in the rock. The appearance of the monument, however, was not what he had in mind. Robinson saw Indians and cowboys portrayed on the monument, but Borglum managed to change his mind.
The sculptor himself was already 60 years old when construction began, but he enthusiastically took on the task. Construction continued until 1941. The work was very hard, because it was conducted at an impressive height and with the use of sophisticated tools. Just to get to the top of the mountain, it was necessary to overcome 506 steps.
In this case, it was constantly necessary to work with explosives. Dynamite was used to break off large chunks of rock. It was estimated that 360,000 tons of rock had to be removed from the construction site. After the rough work was done with dynamite, workers used pneumatic jackhammers to cut the contours of the heads. Other tools were also used for more precise work.
In the end, 14 years later and with the help of 400 workers who worked continuously on Mount Rushmore, four eighteen-meter heads of presidents were created, looking down on their nation from a bird’s eye view. Unfortunately, the sculptor himself never saw the completion of the major project of his life. He died shortly before the end, so his son finished the project.
The symbolic meaning of the monument to the Presidents
Gutzon Borglum himself did not just create a monument to the Fourth Presidents of the United States, he wanted to bring something more to the people. He wanted to remind people of the high ideals that their forefathers preached. He believed that each of the four presidents had given America something special.
For example, George Washington was placed in bas-relief on Mount Rushmore for being able to lead Americans to democracy. Thomas Jefferson was immortalized in granite because he created the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln was honored for abolishing slavery in the United States, while Theodore Roosevelt was elected because of the construction of the Panama Canal and because he promoted government and business.
That’s how the huge heads of the 4 presidents carved in the granite of Mount Rushmore appeared. The national memorial called Mount Rushmore covers an area of 517 hectares and welcomes 2 million tourists every year who want to see one of the most famous symbols of the United States.
Rushmore is the mountain of presidents. USA
The Rushmore National Memorial (better known as Mount Rushmore) is a huge sculpture carved into the slopes of the rock of the same name by artist Gutzon Borglum. It is the most authentic mountain of presidents, as four U.S. presidents can be seen here at once.
Relief representations of famous American leaders decorate the mountain on its eastern slope. From left to right are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Where is Mount Rushmore
The mountain with the presidents is located in western South Dakota in the middle of the northern United States. The nearest major city, Rapid City, is 30 kilometers northeast.
What Presidents Mountain looks like
Mount Rushmore itself lies 1,745 meters above ocean level and rises 140 meters above the surrounding landscape. On its east side are carved bas-reliefs of the four U.S. presidents. They are about 18 meters high.
Why are the presidents on the mountain?
The idea for the large monument originally belonged to Doan Robinson in the early 20th century. He planned to carve the monuments in the Needle Mountains on the territory of the Black Hills, which are located 8 kilometers from Mount Rushmore.
But Doane wanted to immortalize in granite not presidents at all, but legendary people who were directly related to the territory of South Dakota, and who were considered legends and heroes of the “wild west”. They were to include explorers Meriweather Lewis and William Clark, a Lakota Indian chief named Red Cloud, and William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, known for killing thousands (. ) of bison in the American territory and dozens of Indians.
We’ve been looking for a long time to find out what the last citizen’s heroism was, but we haven’t found it. If you have this information, please share it with us.
Robinson worked in collaboration with Gutzon Borglum, who rejected the original project. First, because of opposition from local Indians. Second, Gutzon was not satisfied with the quality of the granite in the Black Hills Mountains. Third, Mount Rushmore had a better position in relation to the Sun. In addition, Borglum decided that the sculpture should be more attractive and chose four American presidents instead of “Wild West heroes.”
The presidents carved into the mountain symbolize traditional American values.
George Washington (1st President of the United States) actually founded the new state and achieved its independence.
Thomas Jefferson (3rd president of the USA) became the author of the famous Declaration of Independence and doubled the territory of the country.
Theodore Roosevelt (the 26th president of the USA) fought for the rights of the working class, was a supporter of the creation of the Panama Canal and took an active part in its realization.
Abraham Lincoln (the 16th president of the USA) did not let the country fall apart during the Civil War. Under his rule slavery was abolished.
History of the construction of the Rushmore Monument
After receiving funding and permission from the government, construction of the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Sadly, Gutzon Borglum, the head sculptor, died in March 1941, just short of the completion date. Gutzon’s son, Lincoln Borglum, headed the final phase of the project.
The plan was to create a monument on which the presidents were to appear waist-deep, but funding ceased and construction of the monument ended on October 31, 1941. As a result, only the heads of the state leaders remained on the mountain.
Because of the monument’s enormous size, dynamite was used to rough up the rock. Large sections were simply blown up. Then smaller pieces were removed by hand, gradually giving the monument a finished look. A total of about 410,000 tons of granite rock was blown up and removed. The final step was the coating of the monument with a special protective compound to prevent it from crumbling.
The Rushmore Monument today
Rushmore is part of the more than 5 km2 Memorial Park. The mountain has become an iconic landmark in the United States. It often appears in various movies, cartoons, books, music videos, and other works of fiction.
Presidents Mountain attracts more than two million tourists each year.
Periodically, using climbing equipment, the layers of sealant originally applied by Gutzon are replaced. Gradually, the old and ineffective protective layer is replaced by a modern silicone compound masked by granite dust.
How to get there
If you take Highway 90, you should get to Rapid City. Then take Highway 16 southwest to Keystone. Then take Highway 244 to Mount Rushmore. Visitors coming from the south should take Highway 385 north again to Highway 244.
- Despite the explosive work in the making of the monument and the general hazards associated with mining, not a single person was killed during the entire construction
- The total cost of the project was $989,992.32
- On October 15, 1966, Mount Rushmore was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places
- In the gorge behind the presidents is a small room carved into the rock that contains 16 porcelain panels. They feature the text of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, as well as biographies of the four presidents, sculptor Gutzon Borglum, and U.S. history