Mount Rushmore has been a place I have wanted to see for a really long time, and was extremely excited to finally get to see how amazing and grand it really is in person. Pictures and movies don’t do justice to its size and detail. You have to see it first hand to really appreciate its beauty, and what a monumental endeavor it was to create the monument to four great American Presidents.
The monumental monument was sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum and covers 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet above sea level. However, South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. Construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents’ faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum’s death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.
Today almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world come to gaze upon what has grown in fame as a symbol of America – a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds. They feel that one of the most important gifts they can give their visitors at Mount Rushmore National Memorial is an understanding and love for our nation’s history and cultures and an appreciation of the importance of caring for that legacy. It definitely shows everywhere you look, and they did a great job of honoring Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. We talked with some folks that were on holiday from Germany who wanted to come and see the monument. I thought it was great.
What was really cool was the Avenue of Flags in front of Mount Rushmore. Walk beneath the proud, waving colors of 56 U.S. states and territories on your way to the Grand View Terrace and Presidential Trail. It was fun to look at all the state flags and determine which ones we knew right away. Wish we had more time to read all the plaques, but there were a lot of them and not a lot of time, lol. But it was really nice to see that walking toward the monument. I was feeling very patriotic.
Just two more things I want to say about Mount Rushmore. First was that they have a nightly lightening ceremony. We did go to see it lit up, but we never made it to the lighting ceremony (we wanted to see the laser show at the Crazy Horse Memorial and they were close to the same time). However, I heard it wasn’t too great if you weren’t there early and got a good spot to see and hear. It’s just something to keep in mind if you plan on doing it someday. Secondly that it was interesting to think about the movies that were made there such as North by Northwest and National Treasure II. I could say so many more things, but I thing I will end this with the words from the sculpter:
“The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” Gutzon Borglum