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Stone-faced Fathers

As we celebrate 246 years that the Declaration of Independence was signed and the United States became its own Nation, we would like to pay homage to 1 of our many patriotic landmarks, Mt. Rushmore.

Location, Location, Location

Mt. Rushmore is located in the Black Hills Forest

Park at Keystone, South Dakota.

This wasn't the original location nor the idea of carving historical figures on a mountain. The original desired location was in Custer State Park, however, the rock was too eroded and wouldn't last long-term. Mt. Rushmore was chosen because it was made with granite and is more durable.


The concept was first established in October 1927. The thought process was to be a tourist spot and originally Doane Robinson wanted western icons, like Buffalo Bill, to be placed in stone so that more people who had an interest in western lifestyles would visit. Although Gutzon Borglum, the original sculptor, went with celebrating 150 years of America and the Presidents that created pivotal moments in history. The importance of choosing Presidents was to be a National icon in hopes to have a National interest instead of just a western interest.

Reason behind the Chosen Presidents

The four Presidents chosen were: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each President was carefully thought of that created a major turning point in America's history:

  • George Washington- The first President of the United States, the father of the New Country. Washington played a key role in laying the foundation of democracy, including term limits for Presidents.

  • Thomas Jefferson- The primary author of the Declaration of Independence. As well, as purchasing the Louisiana Territory which doubled the size of the Nation and aspired growth.

  • Theodore (aka Teddy) Roosevelt- Dedicated his time as President to developing the economical boom and stability of America. Played an important role in negotiating and creating the Panama Canal. Teddy Roosevelt worked passionately on limiting large corporation monopolies to establish common working rights.

  • Abraham Lincoln- Stood strong on creating one Nation, not divided, and maintained that concept throughout the Civil War. It was the Nation's principles that he pushed for the abolishment of slavery and adapted the Emancipation Proclamation.

People involved

Many people took part in the creation from October 1927 through completion in October 1941. After the 30th President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the grounds, roughly 400 employees worked on the project. The work consisted of 6 1/2 years doing carving with dynamite, jackhammers, chisels, and drills. The result of carving also created tons of rubble to be removed. Most of the 450,000 tons of rubble that were created did manage to stay at the base of the mountain. The original sculptor was Gutzon Borglum. When Gutzon died in 1941, his son Lincoln, completed the memorial.

Budgets and Adaptions

There was a lot of funding that was needed to complete the Mt. Rushmore memorial. As a matter of fact, a majority of the funding came from the government though there were many private donations. The total spent in 1941 was $989,992 which today would be estimated at around $19,685,088. From the tight budget, there were some changes to the final memorial. The two biggest changes dealt with both budget and time. One was that the Presidents were supposed to have upper bodies. Second, they were wanting to include Susan B. Anthony as a pertinent person to women's suffrage. Lastly, the major change of plans came from Abraham's head. There was going to be a secret room in Lincoln's head that was going to be called "Hall of Records". The Hall of Records was going to hold important documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Updates and Renovations

Since its completion in 1941, Mt. Rushmore and the surrounding areas have been maintained and updated for tourists' safety and entertainment. In 1976, the Avenue of Flags was added where 56 flags representing the 50 states and US Territories line a sidewalk leading up to Mt. Rushmore. In 1991 another 40 million dollars was set to fund the National landmark which included adding the Grand View Terrace and amphitheater in 1998. Other attractions added were the Presidential trail and the Lincoln Borglum Museum. The space in Lincoln's head was also updated to hold porcelain enamel panels that are not accessible to the public but rather used as a time capsule.

We hope this blog gave you an insider look at one of the greatest National landmarks. If you learned something you didn't know before or have more information, please share! What is your favorite National landmark and what fact about it?

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