Friday, June 2, 2017

The Majestic Figures of Mount Rushmore

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore, a batholith (a large emplacement of plutonic rock that forms from cooled magma deep in the Earth's crust) is located in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. My children's visit to the monument a month ago stirred my interest in the history of the iconic symbol of the United States that over two million visitors view annually.
The Majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927-1941with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum.
Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The memorial park covers 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet) above sea level.
South Dakota historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. The sculptures face southwest, which gives them maximum sun exposure. Robinson originally wanted to feature American West heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum thought the sculpture should have broader appeal and chose the four presidents.
After securing federal funding through the enthusiastic sponsorship of "Mount Rushmore's great political patron" U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck, construction began in 1927. The presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. After Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son took over as leader of the construction project. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist. Lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.


  1. We finally got to see these in our "old age." We'd walked up from the bus to the building with a cafeteria, etc and big windows to view these up very close. Still, from there, a long slanted concrete walkway led up so you could see really how big they were.
    It was not an easy walk but almost there, on the down side of the walk, came a couple leaving after they'd seen them. Jim says, We know those people. They're our neighbors...four houses down! Sure, enough, we rarely see them at home...but here they are in the same place. Odd. That trip was fun.

    1. Isn't that the way of things. It means you must always behave yourselves no matter where you are. Glad you enjoyed seeing them. Our kids were very impressed. I loved the history about them.

  2. I haven't seen them even though I have been close to where they are. I imagine it must be an awesome site. I know you and your children found it fascinating.
    I enjoyed your blog, Paisley. Sorry I'm late getting here.

  3. Thanks, Sarah. It's all right - I'm editing so don't get here often at the moment. I loved the photos they took. I'd like to see the real thing some day. :)

  4. I was a very little girl when I saw them. It was a "WOW!" moment. They are so huge! I wonder if you can still see them from the road. Hmm.


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