The Mount Rushmore Story - Carving History

Christine CrowleyStarred Page By Christine Crowley, 11th Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>United States>South Dakota

Did you know it took 400 workers 14 years to carve Mt. Rushmore? An amazing task with an awesome end product.

Avenue of Flags

The Avenue of Flags is a starting point to view the 60' busts of the four presidents - Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt and Jefferson. The busts seem to be looking out over the vista and pondering the past and the future.

History of Mt. Rushmore

The development of this site began in 1923 under the tutulage of Doane Robinson, a South Dakota historian who was profoundly interested in boosting the tourism market. And boy did he succeed. He contacted master sculpture, Gutzom Borglum to create the masterpiece on the Needles of the Black Hills. Borglum dismissed Robinson's western frontier angle and favored a national symbol that would encompass the virtues and philosophies upon which our nation was established. Borglum suggested a grouping of influential presidents carved along the granite wall of Mt. Ruthmore which would endure until the wind and rain alone shall wear them away.

Shrine of Democracy

George Washington was chosen as the first United States president.
Thomas Jefferson was chosen based on the Louisiana Purchase when he was president. This was in 1803 and doubled the size of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln was chosen because of his steadfasteness in preserving the union.
Theodore Roosevent was chosen for the building of the Panama Canal and his widespread conservation efforts to protect America's natural beauty and resources.

Two addition carvings were to be added: Entablature - 3 four-foot tall letters would briefly recount the nation's history. A Hall of Records was to be added also, a repository within a separate wall behind the figures which would preserve national documents and artifacts.

Carving the Faces of Giants

Borglum studied under Auguste Rodin (the "Thinker") and was able to create accurate plaster models portraying the presidents from the waist up. The models were sized at a simple ratio of 1:12 - every 1 inch on the model would translate to 12 inches on the mountain.

In order to shape Mt. Rushmore, workers had to chip away at stone - no material could be added. At first dynamite was ruled out but then realized that it was the only practical way to remove 450,000 tons of granite.

It took 400 workers 14 years to transfore Mt. Ruthmore. A huge challenge was that 18 months into carving Jefferson, the granite was deemed not able to hold the weight. So he was blasted off the mountain and re-positioned to Washington's left. There went the Entablature.

Death of Borglum and finishing of Mt. Rushmore

Limited funding and the death of Borglum in 1941 led Congress to call Mount Rushmore complete. There is an incomplete Hall of Records behind the carvings.

The national idealism and nationalism Mount Rushmore inspires cannot be matched.

I hope you have a chance to visit it some day.

Tags

Mt Rushmore, North Dakota, Travel, United States

Meet the author

author avatar Christine Crowley
I am retired from a community college and working part-time. I've always loved to write and find it rewarding.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
11th Apr 2012 (#)

I have never been to Mount Rushmore thanks for this great information on it.

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author avatar Christine Crowley
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Maybe you will travel there some day. Thank you for commenting!

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Nice informative and interesting article. Thank you bro for sharing this.

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author avatar Christine Crowley
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Maybe you will travel there some day! Thank you for the coment!

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author avatar Val Mills
12th Apr 2012 (#)

I've heard of these carvings, so nice to read the story.

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author avatar Christine Crowley
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Thanks for commenting!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Amazing Christine, thank you my friend:0)

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author avatar Christine Crowley
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Glad you liked it. Thanks, Delicia!

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author avatar Buzz
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Thanks for this info, Christine. Wow, the third star so far I've seen in a row. Congrats. Yes!

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author avatar Christine Crowley
12th Apr 2012 (#)

Isn't this fun? Thanks for the comment, Buzz.

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author avatar mistyleaf
15th Apr 2012 (#)

I gain knowledge everyday by reading articles here. Very good article! Thank you.

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author avatar Christine Crowley
15th Apr 2012 (#)

Thank you, mistyleaf. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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