(1)Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located 23 miles
southwest of Rapid City South Dakota is, something you don't want to miss.(2)
It's one of the greatest geographical and historical attractions in the
"Until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away." (3)Those are the famous words of
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum who used to describe the length of time his most famous work,
Mt. Rushmore, (4)had endured. Borglum, The son of Danish immigrants, was raised from
age seven inNebraska. He studied art in San Francisco and then, from 1890 to 1893, in
Paris at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts. A fascination
with gigantic scale and themes of heroic nationalism suited Borglum’s
extroverted personality. His sculpted head of Abraham Lincoln, carved from
a six-ton block of marble, was exhibited in Theodore Roosevelt's White
House and can today be found in the United States Capitol in Washington,
D.C.[A] (5)A self-described patriot believing that the "monuments we have built
are not simply our own," and looking to create art that was "American,
drawn from American sources, and memorialized American achievement,"
according to a 1908 interview article. Borglum was highly suited to the
competitive environment surrounding the contracts for public buildings and
monuments, and the Rushmore project was the perfect outlet for his
ambition. [B] The mountain face itself was perfect. (6)Standing so tall and
majestic, and with such potential, Borglum was definitely the man for the
The mountain was originally named after Charles E. Rushmore, a New
York lawyer investigating mining claims in the Black Hills in 1885. Gutzon
Borglum chose this mountain due to its height (5700' above sea level), and
to the soft grainy consistency of the granite. (7)Nevertheless, Gutzon favored
the fact that the mountain face catches the sun for the greatest part of
the day. The sculptor considered many great statesmen for the faces on the
mountainside, and eventually chose four presidents on the basis of what
each (8)was symbolizing. George Washington represents the struggle for
independence, Thomas Jefferson the idea of government by the people.
Abraham Lincoln for his ideas on equality and the permanent union of the
states, and Theodore Roosevelt for the 20th century role of the United
States in world affairs.
The carving of Mt. Rushmore actually began on
August 10, 1927, and spanned a length of 14 years. Only about six and a
half years were spent actually carving the mountain, with the rest of the
time being spent on weather delays and Borglum's greatest enemy - the lack
of funding. [C] (9) The total cost of the project was $900,000, this was truly an
astronomical cost at the time, but the funds were eventually raised. Work
continued on the project until the death of Gutzon Borglum in 1941. (10)No
carving has been done on the mountain since that time, and none is planned
for the future.
[D] The granite faces of four American presidents are scaled to
men who would stand 465 feet tall! (11)President Calvin Coolidge believed Mount
Rushmore was "decidedly American in its conception, magnitude and meaning,
and a symbol altogether worthy of our country," Coolidge proclaimed at the
dedication of the project in 1927.
(12)Throughout the year, especially when
in the summer vacation season, visitors still make the trek to Rapid City
for an opportunity to witness one of America’s most distinctive
landmarks. The most spectacular program at Mount Rushmore is the lighting
ceremony (13)that gets held every evening in the new amphitheater at the base
of the monument. (14) Truly, the iconic Mount Rushmore is a must see when
touring the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.
Created for Albert.io. Adapted from http://www.mtrushmore.net
(10)No carving has been done on the mountain since that time, and none is planned for the future.