Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Completed in 1941 under the direction of Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln, the sculpture is roughly 60-ft, depicting the faces of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham.
1. Four faced structure
Mount Rushmore was sculpted by father and son, Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum and the faces carved signify four men who shaped the history of America. These men are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. There was confusion about whose face should be used in the fourth carving between Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.
2. Eponymous Mountain?
The question many wonder its answer is; where did the Mount get her name from? The Mount was named after Charles E. Rushmore, an attorney in New York who visited the Mount in the 19th century. Legend has it that Rushmore was intrigued by the batholith when he came across it while on a business trip. When he inquired about the mountain’s name, his tour guide claimed it had no name and named the mount ‘Rushmore.’ The attorney later donated the sum of $5,000 to fund the project.
3. Carvings made of dynamite
Chisels could not carve the thick granite rock and so the sculptor and his team tried jackhammers but it was futile. After almost a month of using devices which were cumbersome and slow, Borglum came up with an idea: use dynamite called ‘powder monkey’ to blast the granite. Dynamite eliminated about 90% of the igneous rock.
4. Forgotten Entablature
Gutzon Borglum had planned not just to carve the faces of presidents but also carve some inscriptions about America’s history. He called these inscriptions ‘Entablature’. Sadly, the plan was abandoned after many attempts due to a lack of funding and the inability of people to see the inscriptions from afar.
5. No tragedy
During the carving of the faces on the granite rock (which took almost 15 years to complete), no worker lost his life. This is a huge feat as the workers hung from a great height, working under dangerous conditions which were high risk regarding potential accidents.
6. The Unfinished Hall of Records
Like the Entablature, Borglum dreamt of building an 800ft tall Hall of Records that would showcase the proud history of America. Sadly, his dream was not brought to fruition as construction was halted a short while after it started due to lack of funding from Congress.
7. The movement of Thomas Jefferson’s head
The head of Jefferson was initially meant to be at the left side of George Washington, however, it was discovered that the area was filled with quartz and not granite. This led to a change of plan, with Thomas Jefferson’s face being carved to the right of George Washington.
8. More than just faces
Like many sculptors, Gutzon Borglum presented a model of what he wanted the sculptures to look like. The original structures were not just heads of the four American presidents. It showed the presidents carved in a plaster model from their waist up.
9. Pinocchio Nose?
Borglum wanted his priced carvings to outlive man. After discovering that an inch of the granite on the mount will shrink every 10,000 years, he decided to take a precautionary step by adding an extra 12 inches to the nose on George Washington’s face.
10. The architect’s fate
Gutzon Borglum was a stern and disciplined man. He went extra miles to ensure that the Mount Rushmore project was completed. Sadly, he never lived to see the completion of the sculpture. He died from a surgical complication, 6 months before the Mount Rushmore was finished. His son completed the sculptures.
This article was written by Tayyaba Asif.
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