With that we left The Badlands and headed to Mt. Rushmore. The big four magnificent carvings of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln towered over me. It must have been so hard to recreate life out of mountain granite. But the team of 400 carvers did it perfectly.
I have noted a few interesting facts about Mt. Rushmore:
- Doane Robinson, a state historian of South Dakota, had the idea to create a sculpture in 1923 to attract tourists to South Dakota. It worked. Mount Rushmore is now visited by nearly 3 million people annually!
- The presidents were chosen for their significant contributions to the country.
- George Washington was chosen because he was our nation’s founding father.
- Thomas Jefferson was chosen to represent expansion, because he was the president who signed the Louisiana Purchase.
- Theodore Roosevelt was chosen because he represented conservation and the industrial blossoming of the nation.
- Abraham Lincoln was chosen because he led the country through the Civil War and believed in preserving the nation at any cost.
- The carving of Mount Rushmore began in 1927 and finished in 1941, under the direction of Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln
- 90% of the mountain was carved with dynamite, and more than 450,000 tons of rock was removed.
- Afterwards, fine carving was done to create a surface as smooth as a concrete sidewalk
- The project cost $1 million and took 14 years.