Big Mountain, Monumental Men – Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
When one considers iconic American landmarks, one particular destination comes to mind: Mount Rushmore.
Originally proposed in the 1920s to depict influential western figures such as Lewis and Clark and Buffalo Bill Cody, Mount Rushmore now serves as a national commemoration of America’s cultural foundation and heritage.
Sculpted high among the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial attracts nearly 3 million visitors each year. The 60 ft. granite portraits chiseled into Mount Rushmore depicts 4 of the nation’s most revered presidents, chosen for their contributions to America.
George Washington was of course the first President and our highest ranking General in the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and doubled the size of the nation through the Louisiana Purchase. Theodore Roosevelt was a key factor in establishing the Panama Canal, and he worked to ensure the rights of the everyday working man in relation to large corporations during a period of economic growth. Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery and helped the nation maintain unity during its greatest time of domestic discord – The Civil War.
The memorial’s construction was led by Guzton Borglum, who suggested the monument be in recognition of leading presidents and also developed the design for the sculpture. Construction on the site began in 1929, and with the help of over 400 workers, the memorial was completed in October of 1941.
In addition to the national memorial, visitors to Mount Rushmore will find multiple attractions offered through the park such as nature trails, informational movies, recreational rock climbing, and free guided tours as well as special events held throughout certain times of the year.
The Information Center is a great way for guests to start their visit. It provides information about the parks daily schedule, such as the guided tours and special events, and also houses a bookstore.
The Presidential Trail offers visitors the ability to admire the memorial close up, while enjoying the calming scenery and wildlife of the park.
For those that aren’t interested in a nature walk, the Grand View Terrace provides a great spot to enjoy the monument and capture some great photos.
The Sculptor’s Studio is an interesting feature of the park and offers intimate access into Borglum’s professional office. The studio provides guests with informational details about the monument’s construction and also maintains the scaled-down version of the memorial that Borglum used to sculpt Mount Rushmore.
The Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center is composed of two theatres that run informational movies about Mount Rushmore, a museum, and a bookstore. It’s a can’t-miss stop for anyone that visits Mount Rushmore.
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Dollar Photo Club.