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Mount Rushmore

[South Dakota]

Quick Facts:


The sculpture was carved into granite on the side of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


The sculpture was designed and overseen  by Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum. Gutzon was the son of Danish immigrants.


Mount Rushmore was supposed to include a grand "hall of records" carved into the granite behind the sculpture, but without continued funding, construction had to be ended early.


The Construction of Mount Rushmore was active from 1927 to 1941


Mount Rushmore is an incomplete image of what Borglum had planned. The lack of continued funding forced work on the memorial to be stopped early. The NPS has since declared it complete.

Mount Rushmore depicts four U.S. presidents. Who are they?

A. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln

B. George Washington, Paul Revere, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln

C. George Washington,  Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, and Abraham Lincoln

Why Visit Mount Rushmore?

It's a National Memorial

Which means that someone somewhere thought, "Hey this is something the whole nation/world should remember" and Congress and the President said "You know what, I think you're right. Let's protect it by law." Call me old school, but I think that's reason enough to visit a National Memorial.  It not only is a way to learn about the past, but it's also a good way to learn about what a specific generation of people held as important enough to pass on to future generations. It's like a history lesson, about a history lesson, about a history lesson. Whoa! That got deep quick.
  • It's a massive statue carved in the side of a mountain

By massive, I mean huge. Each head is as tall as a six story building! To put that into historical perspective, that's twice as tall as the head of the Sphinx in Egypt. Just the nose on George Washington is 21 feet tall. That's like...4 of me stacked on top of each other. The goal here was clearly to make something truly, impressively, huge. And they succeeded. Kind of. I mean, it's not really finished, but that's besides the point. It's huge and you need to see it. 
  • It made TIME magazine's Greatest Structures of the World list

Look, I'm not saying that you need to do everything TIME magazine tells you to do... But when this iconic magazine compiles a list of the world's greatest structures, and Mount Rushmore makes the same list as Stonehenge, Easter Island, The Pyramids of Giza, the Pantheon in Italy, Masada in Israel, and the Great Wall of China you go see it. It's just a matter of principle at this point. It's almost irresponsible not to go see it when you live in the same country, you know what I'm saying?

P.S. You can buy this specific TIME magazine issue here! It's a pretty neat read that you can enjoy over and over with all the neat pictures - I definitely recommend it.


Disclaimer: I make a small commission off of any purchases made through that link.

Fun Fact:

Mount Rushmore is sometimes referred to as the "Shrine of Democracy". But that wasn't the original purpose. Before Mount Rushmore became Mount Rushmore, South Dakota really just wanted some tourists.
Their idea: carve a monument into the side of a mountain, and people will come to South Dakota! It was Gutzon Borglum who decided to make it a presidential sculpture. And as it turns out, a couple million people travel from all over the world to come see it every year.





Hall of Records

So basically, Mount Rushmore was meant to be something that would last until the end of time.


A monument that tells the story of America's first 150 years to future civilizations.

Today, the Hall of Records isn't quite the grandiose hall that Borglum envisioned, but it exists. On the entrance floor of the unfinished hall is a titanium vault that holds a brief history of the United States as well as an explanation of Mount Rushmore. Also important to note: the hall is closed off to the public. Which really makes you wonder - what all is in that most secret room behind one of the world's most recognizable monuments?

Feel the unexplainable urge to watch National Treasure II? Click HERE to rent/buy it now!


Disclaimer: I make a small commission off of any purchases made through that link.

Points of Interest Near

Mount Rushmore:

Crazy Horse Memorial:

  • 26 min. drive

This Native American sculpture was started in 1948 in response to Mount Rushmore. The sculpture is supposed to depict a Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing out. It is far from being completed, but if it's completed according to the design it will be the largest sculpture in the world.


For More Information Visit:

Big Thunder Gold Mine:

14 min. drive

Visit the Mining Museum and learn about the history of the Big Thunder Gold Mine property. Learn how gold was extracted from the mines and see tools and equipment dating back to the early 1900's. While you are there, you can learn how to pan for gold on-site or pay for a half/full day adventure to go out to their claim for an opportunity to explore and try your hand at panning for gold - you find it, you keep it!

For More Information Visit:

Rushmore Tramway Adventures:

This is a neat experience you definitely do not want to miss! With so many ways to have fun, you will not regret making this part of your trip. Go on a mile long zip-line tour through the Black Hills mountains and see Mount Rushmore from the sky! Or ride on a 2,000 ft. alpine slide down a mountain as you decide how fast or slow you want to go! It's a blast, when my family went we all really enjoyed it! Whatever you decide to do, this is a great way to have fun and enjoy the beauty of the Black Hills National Forest!

Zip-line Tour Video
Alpine Slide Video

For More Information Visit:

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