The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a national memorial centered on a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore (Lakota for Six Grandfathers) in the Black Hills near Keystone, South Dakota.
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed the sculpture, called Shrine of Democracy, and oversaw the project's execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum.
The sculpture features the 60-foot-tall heads of four United States presidents: George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).
Mount Rushmore attracts more than two million visitors annually. The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation's birth, growth, development and preservation, respectively.
The sculptor chose Mount Rushmore in part because it faces southeast for maximum sun exposure. The carving was the idea of Doane Robinson, a historian for the state of South Dakota. Robinson originally wanted the sculpture to feature American West heroes, such as Lewis and Clark, their expedition guide Sacagawea, Oglala Lakota chief Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Oglala Lakota chief Crazy Horse. Borglum believed that the sculpture should have broader appeal and chose the four presidents.
Conversations/Things We Learned:
This monument is a must see for anyone visiting South Dakota. It is very accessible to non-hikers and those with physical limitations and offers a small but impressive museum. Many may think this location is touristy but we found it to me very historic and well worth the visit. The museum which is located in the visitor center is well done and gives a complete history of the monument. The monument also has a multi-floor parking deck and even though there is a parking fee in addition to a park pass, the parking deck is conveniently close to the monument and includes elevators.
13000 Highway 244 Building 31, Suite 1 Keystone, SD 57751
Video of Monument
Gallery of photos
Walking Trail & Views