My husband I recently visited family who live close to Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I thought since some of you may not get to visit this beautiful part of our amazing country that I would share a little about it.
- On average, Mount Rushmore hosts nearly three million visitors a year.
- It took 14 years and 400 men to carve the mountain. Despite harsh and dangerous conditions, no one died during the project.
- Mount Rushmore cost nearly one million dollars and was mostly carved during the Great Depression.
- Over 90% of Mount Rushmore was carved using dynamite. The blasts removed approximately 450,000 tons of rock. Details were finished with jackhammers and hand chisels.
- The faces of Mount Rushmore are 60 feet high. That’s the same size as a six-story building. (Can your children name all of the men whose faces are on the mountainside?)
- The eyes of each president are 11 feet wide, and their mouths are approximately 18 feet wide.
- Thomas Jefferson’s face on Mount Rushmore was originally started on the opposite side of George Washington, but 18 months into the carving, they realized the granite was too weak. His face was dynamited off and carved on the other side.
- To turn the dream of Mount Rushmore into reality, sculptor Gutzon Borglum and U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck had to get creative to secure federal funding. They invited President Calvin Coolidge to come to Custer State Park for a vacation so they could convince him to fund the carving of Mount Rushmore. To keep the president in the state, workers stocked the stream outside his room every night with thousands of trout. The president found the fishing so good, he decided to extend his stay for two months— just long enough to convince him to fund the carving of Mount Rushmore.
- The men who carved Mount Rushmore were mostly miners who had come to the Black Hills in search of gold—they knew little about carving a mountain, let alone creating a giant work of art. While the money was considered good at $8 a day, the project often ran out of money, causing the men to be furloughed or laid off. But to their credit, when the mountain would start up again, the men would quit their jobs and come back to work on Mount Rushmore.