South Dakota is a hidden treasure of the United States. If you are a travel addict then I must say you should add this destination in your itinerary. This place has its own aura and charm and though lures travellers with its natural beauty, massive mountains which have serene ambience, historical monuments situated on the Black hill which are bigger than you have ever thought of and Badland National Parks popular due Native Americans. Apart from all these charming destinations, South Dakota is also famous all over the globe and the reason responsible for this much fame is Mount Rushmore National Memorial. But did you ever thought what makes this mountain is so exceptional?
Indiaimagine readers, let’s start the virtual journey of Mount Rushmore to find out why it is weirdest and unique in its own way!
Mount Rushmore is a remarkable mountain and memorial located at South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest in the United States. These mountains are popular for the massive sculpture which are carved on the mountains; those carving consists of heads of four popular American presidents- George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum from southeastern Idaho carved one of the most iconic monuments of America. It is both a magnificent view and a man-made wonder for visitors. Every year around 3 million people visit Mount Rushmore for viewing these carving.
The goal of Mount Rushmore National Memorial is to understand people that they should honour and celebrate national history and progress through the silhouettes of these famous personalities (presidents of US mentioned above).
The Birth of Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore was named after the New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore, who travelled to the Black Hills in 1884 to investigate and take mining permissions in that area. When Rushmore asked residents the name of a nearby mountain, they responded that this mountain never had a name before, from there this mountain is known as Rushmore Peak and later modified Rushmore Mountain or Mount Rushmore.
Let’s Explore The Black Hills
The Black Hills is home to 2 historical monuments carved right into towering granite peaks: ‘Mount Rushmore’ which we are currently discussing and ‘Crazy Horse Memorial’ which pay tribute to the Native American tribal leader. The Black Hills are a geological weirdness as an island of rock coming out from an ocean of prairie.
They contain some of the oldest and hardest stone in the world; for 70 million years or so, erosion has carved them into 5,000 foot high lean towers surrounded by gulfs and rocks.
Architectural History of Mount Rushmore
It was said that initially, Borglum was going to carve all the presidents up to their upper body and want to comprise a hall of records where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence can be stored. Borglum died before the project was completed and the funding was not sufficient, so only the head of each president was carved. In all, nearly 500,000 tons of rock were removed and 90 % sculptures are carved with dynamite only. Under the direction of sculptor Gutzon Borglum, the first blast on the mountain was done in 1927.
Around 400 men and women worked throughout the year to create the 60-foot faces of the presidents, nearly 500 feet up the side of the mountain. Over 90% of the mountain was carved using dynamite. Final touch and finishing of the faces were achieved with the help of jackhammers and hand chisels. Despite the dangerous work, it took 14 years to carve the mountain. Finally, the memorial was completed on October 31, 1941.
Why These Four Presidents?
According to the perspective of Gutzon Borglum, he selected these four presidents because they represented the most important events in the history of the United States. If there was another artist, he would not have thought so deeply. Explaining in short about Borglum’s choices and then decide he was right or not!!
George Washington – First President of the United States (1732 – 1799)
Washington led the colonists in the American Revolutionary War to win independence from Great Britain. He was the father of the new country and laid the foundation of American democracy. Because of his importance, Borglum chose Washington to be the most prominent figure on the mountain and represent the birth of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson – 3rd President of the United States (1743 – 1826)
Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, a document which inspires democracies around the world. Gutzon Borglum chose Jefferson to represent the growth of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of the United States (1809 – 1865)
Abraham Lincoln held the nation together during the Civil War. He believed his most pious duty was the conservation of the union. That why Gutzon Borglum chose Lincoln to represent the preservation of the United States.
Theodore Roosevelt – 26th President of the United States (1858 – 1919)
Roosevelt provided leadership when America experienced rapid economic growth as it entered the 20th Century. He was instrumental in negotiating the construction of the Panama Canal, linking the east and the west. So Borglum chose Roosevelt to showcase the development of the United State.
Secret Chamber of Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore has a secret room or little known chamber that no one can enter. It is hidden behind the facade of Abraham Lincoln. Monument’s sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed the chamber to maintain the information for travellers about the monument and information of America’s history from 1776 to 1906. Now it is not accessible for the public.
Summing up here but remember whenever you will visit don’t forget to take selfies with the presidents and enjoy hiking the Presidential Trail. Mount Rushmore is one of the best historical and weirdest monument cum sculptures you will ever see!
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