Mount Rushmore Turns 75

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^Top image: Mount Rushmore Credit: © Shutterstoc

Yesterday, October 31, was the 75th anniversary of the completion of theMount Rushmore National Memorial. Carved into on a granite cliff in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the giant-sized presidential faces on Mount Rushmore have symbolized American creativity and history, as well as the nation’s variety of natural beauty, since the memorial opened in 1941. State and National Park Service events have celebrated the iconic monument’s 75th birthday throughout 2016, including gala dinners, naturalization ceremonies, picnics, and a special exhibit at the Journey Museum in nearby Rapid City.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial shows the faces of four American Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The heads are 60 feet (18 meters) high. The height of the heads is to the scale of a human being 465 feet (142 meters) tall.

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson came up with the idea for the Mount Rushmore memorial. American sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed the memorial and supervised most of its work. Workers used models that were one-twelfth actual size to obtain measurements for the figures. The workers cut the figures from Mount Rushmore’s granite cliff by means of drills and dynamite. Work on the memorial began in 1927 and continued, with interruptions, for over 14 years. Borglum died in 1941, before the memorial was completed, and his son Lincoln finished the work. The carved figures on Mount Rushmore were originally intended to show the presidents from the waist up, but a lack of funding ended the project prematurely.

Mount Rushmore stands in the mountains 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Rapid City. The memorial rises 5,725 feet (1,745 meters) above sea level, and more than 500 feet (150 meters) above the valley. Thus, Mount Rushmore stands taller than the Great Pyramid of Egypt. The memorial is part of the National Park System. More than 2 million people visit Mount Rushmore every year.

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