June 8, 2012
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is host to almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. We’re here today to admire this famous symbol of American freedom and hope.
Leading up to the Grand Viewing Terrace is a hall of State Flags. Every state of the union is represented here on the pillars of the hall, with the order and date that the State was admitted into the Union.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial was carved right into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota by Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son. Between October 4, 1927, and October 31, 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the colossal 60 foot high carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history. These particular presidents were selected by Borglum because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory.
Over 90% of the carving of Mount Rushmore involved the use of dynamite, followed by the process of “honeycombing”. About 450,000 tons of rock were blasted off the mountainside. A list of the workers who helped the Borglums accomplish their dream are immortalized in stone near the hall of state flags.
The Sculptor’s Studio — a display of unique plaster models and tools related to the mountainside project — was built in 1939 under the direction of Borglum. Borglum died in 1941, but his son Lincoln continued the project until he ran out of money. In the studio you can see a plaster model that depicts Borglum’s intended final design with the figures carved from head to waist.