Mount Rushmore: the multi-faced history of America carved in stone

Saturday, 13 February 2021
 The huge faces of the four US presidents carved in granite in Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. The huge faces of the four US presidents carved in granite in Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.

Lying within Black Hills National Forest, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial features a huge sculpted faces of four great American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a US monument located near Keystone in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It lies roughly 30 miles southwest of Rapid City, 10 miles northeast of Custer and north of Custer State Park. Also called America’s Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore symbolizes the history and the ideals of freedom and democracy left as a heritage to American people. The 60-feet tall faces carved in granite into the mountainside of black hills are, indeed, a tribute to the four US presidents. The man behind the memorial, Doane Robinson, was strongly persuaded that they were America’s most prominent presidents who marked US history. At the same time, he thought of making it as a patriotic site that would represent both the past of the United States and the promise for the future. As a result, Mount Rushmore National Memorial – since its design – continues to attract more tourists worldwide and has been ranked among one of America’s most popular tourist attractions.

The sculpture and depiction of the Mount Rushmore
The idea of carving on the granite face of a mountain in the Black Hills first came from an historian from South Dakota, named Doane Robinson. He had in his mind the perfect images of iconic and historic heroes of the west and was too optimistic to undertake his monumental project; a project that caused quite a controversy among some. In fact, there is a gloomy story hidden behind the memorial revealing that the land where the memorial is located and what is around belonged to the Native American tribes known as “the Sioux”; for them the land was sacred. That is why we see today some Native American activists who continue to claim properties including Mount Rushmore. In August 1924, Robinson contacted an American sculptor named Gutzon Borglum and convinced him to work for the project. At that time, Borglum was already assigned to carve an image of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee into the face of Georgia’s Stone Mountain but was then fired. Shortly after, he finally accepted to work with Robinson and the sculpture of the four presidential heads began in 1927. Robinson wanted first Borglum to carve the face of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and later he suggested adding that of Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. The project was finished in 1941. In July 4, 2020, for the first time in several decades, fireworks were displayed to commemorate the Independence Day at the Mount Rushmore National Monument. Other interesting things to see in Mount Rushmore
Many other amenities or facilities are present at Mount Rushmore sites, which will surely enable tourists to spend joyful moments and enjoy their journey in South Dakota. Among these is the Avenue of Flags, a walkway leading towards the mountain with 56 flags hung up side by side and arranged in alphabetic order. The 56 flags depict the 50 states, one district, three territories and two commonwealths of the United States.

If ever come over South Dakota, do not forget to drop by the Black Hills to visit the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Furthermore, Presidents’ Day is coming soon – a public holiday, observed annually every third Monday of February, aiming at honoring US presidents’ achievements and invaluable contributions to the United States of America.

Sources: National Park Service / HISTORY/ Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Read 195 times Last modified on Friday, 12 February 2021 07:07
Login to post comments

An initiative by

Initiate by


Funding provided by

Supported by


AmCham sponsors



This website was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.