10 Facts You Didn't Know About Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a well-known monument to the history of the United States. This huge construction project was completed in 1941 and has made the Black Hills area of South Dakota a tourist area visited by millions of people each year. Here are 10 facts about Mount Rushmore that you may not have known.

  • The idea of carving faces into a mountain was conceived as a way to increase tourism to the Black Hills area of South Dakota. Originally, it was proposed to do the carving in the Needles area of the Black Hills but the granite was too loose so the Mount Rushmore location was selected.

  • South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with the idea of creating the monument. His original idea was to feature the face of Western heroes like Buffalo Bill Cody and Lewis and Clark but in the end they decided to go with Presidents for a more national appeal.

  • The initial concept was to feature the Presidents from head to waist but lack of funding required construction to end in 1941.

  • The Lakota Sioux named this mountain Six Grandfathers. The mountain was renamed after a New York lawyer, Charles E. Rushmore after an expedition in 1885.

  • The carving started in 1927 and was not completed until 1941. The construction was led by Gutzon Borglum and later his son, Lincoln Borglum.

  • In 1937, a bill was introduced to Congress to add the face of Susan B. Anthony to the monument but a rider was added to the bill workers to complete the sculpture, but not a single person died during construction.

  •  The faces are approximately 60 feet high or about 6 stories tall. The eyes are 11 feet wide and the noses are 20 feet long.

  • Thomas Jefferson's face was originally planned to be to the left of George Washington but 18 months into the carving they decided the rock wasn't strong enough so Thomas Jefferson was moved to the right of Washington.


Have you ever visited this monument? When was the last time you were there? 
Photo Courtesy of Josh Grenier
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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