BASICS / Founding Fathers

 
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Mount Rushmore: 
Facts and Figures

Where is Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore was carved out of a granite rock face in the Black Hills of South Dakota, USA.

Who Built Mount Rushmore?

Gutzon Borglum, a master sculpture, conceived and carved Mount Rushmore Memorial. He was assisted by over 400 other rock carvers and explosive experts.

When Was Mount Rushmore Built?

Construction of the Black Hills granite rock faced mountain near Keystone South Dakota began in 1927 when Borglum was 60 years old. The sculptures of the Mount Rushmore presidents were not completed when Borglum died in 1941.

Why Did They Carve Mount Rushmore?

Master carver Gutzon Borglum created Mount Rushmore to commemorate America’s first 150 years as a free country. In his own words, Borglum states that the four Mount Rushmore presidents were chosen to, “Commemorate the founding, growth, preservation, and development to the United States of America.”

Why These Four Mount Rushmore Presidents?

One of the most common questions asked is this: Why were these presidents chosen for the Mount Rushmore monument?

The United States of America came into being in 1776 and turned 240 years old on July 1st, 2016. Mount Rushmore represents the presidents from each important era spanning 150 years during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

George Washington (US President from 1789 to 97)

President Washington was selected because of his efforts towards democracy in the United States.

Thomas Jefferson (US President from 1801 to 09)

President Jefferson was chosen for his authorship of the Declaration of Independence.

Abraham Lincoln (US President from 1861 to 65)

President Lincoln was chosen because he was responsible for the end of slavery in the United States.

Theodore Roosevelt (US President from 1901 to 09)

President Roosevelt was a personal choice of Borglum’s and was chosen because of his contributions to business, conservation and the creation of the Panama Canal.

 

Why These Four Mount Rushmore Presidents?

One of the most common questions asked is this: Why were these presidents chosen for the Mount Rushmore monument?

The United States of America came into being in 1776 and turned 240 years old on July 1st, 2016. Mount Rushmore represents the presidents from each important era spanning 150 years during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

George Washington (US President from 1789 to 97)

President Washington was selected because of his efforts towards democracy in the United States.

Thomas Jefferson (US President from 1801 to 09)

President Jefferson was chosen for his authorship of the Declaration of Independence.

Abraham Lincoln (US President from 1861 to 65)

President Lincoln was chosen because he was responsible for the end of slavery in the United States.

Theodore Roosevelt (US President from 1901 to 09)

President Roosevelt was a personal choice of Borglum’s and was chosen because of his contributions to business, conservation and the creation of the Panama Canal.

11 Mount Rushmore Facts You May Not Know

The sculpted heads of the four American presidents at Mount Rushmore are 60 feet (18.29 meters) high. Here are some answers to some of the most common questions plus a few other interesting facts:

  1. Sculpter Gutzon Borglum was 60 when he began work on Mt Rushmore
  2. Mount Rushmore presidents took 14 years to complete
  3. Mount Rushmore cost less than 1 million dollar to make (over 17 million in today’s dollars)
  4. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was assisted by over 400 workers
  5. In all, there are 506 steps to reach the summit of Mt Rushmore
  6. The Mount Rushmore sculpture was completed safely with no casualties
  7. Mount Rushmore is approximately 465 feet in total height
  8. Each of the eyes of the Mount Rushmore presidents are 11 feet wide
  9. Each of the president’s noses are about 20 feet high
  10. Each president’s mouth is about 18 feet wide
  11. The elevation of Mount Rushmore monument is about 5,500 feet above sea level

Mount Rushmore Construction

The rock face carving required exceptional talent and precise craftsmanship, and it was definitely very difficult to complete the construction of this historical landmark. The construction workers first began sculpting Mount Rushmore with egg-shaped masses of rock. Huge boulders were cleared with the use of dynamite to carve out the general shapes of the Mount Rushmore presidents’ heads. To finish the sculpture, Gutzon Borglum and his crew had to remove approximately 400 thousand tons of rock from the site.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial rests on more than 500 hectares of land and is part of the Mount Rushmore National Park, under the management of the National Park Service. Nearly 3 million tourists visit Mount Rushmore annually.

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