Corbitt's National Parks
     Mount Rushmore
               National Memorial


                


1925: National Memorial

Size: 1,278 acres

2008 visitors: 1,789,328

Stamp: ?

Rating (1-5): Unrated

About the Site

Can anyone imagine, in this day and age, that a new Mount Rushmore would ever be approved, much less encouraged by the National Park Service and Congress? But let's move back in time to the heady 1920's, 1927 in fact, when the economy was booming and the United States had begun to see itself as a world power. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers began carving the likenesses of four Presidents on the southeast face of a granite mountain in remote South Dakota.

The images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt collectively represent the birth, growth, development, and expansion of the first 150 years of the United States. The idea was first conceived in 1923, and Congress authorized the Monument two years later. Gutzon Borglum, a sculptor, was working on Stone Moutain in Georgia and was invited to study the idea. It was Borglum who suggested that Presidents, rather than western heroes, be highlighted.

Construction in the early years was financed mostly through private donations. However, as fourteen years of carving went on, the U.S. Government assumed most of the $1 million cost of the project. It lasted from 1927 to 1941, the year of Borglum's death.

What You're Going to See

The 60-foot faces are best seen in the morning light. In the summer evenings, floodlights light up the Monument. There is a visitors center and Museum, which orents visitors to the memorial and the Black Hills area. There are two theaters inside the museum, and a bookstore. Visitors can take the Presidential Trail to the base of the mountain, where the presidents' faces can be viewed straight-on. Even the workshop of the sculptor Borglum is open during the summer months.

Personal Observations

Someday. Ya, sure, you betcha.

Getting There

From Rapid City, South Dakota, take US 16 south for about 20 miles, then take Alt. US 16 south for a couple of miles to Keystone. Highway 244 takes you two miles west to the Monument.

Nearby Attractions

Wind Cave National Park is about 20 miles due south. Jewel Cave National Monument is about 20 west southwest. Badlands National Park is about 40 miles to the southeast. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is about 70 miles to the east. Devil's Tower National Monument is 80 miles to the northwest, in Wyoming.

Not visited yet.