2018 Southern Black Hills Vacation Guide 2018 SHVG website - Page 10

10 O ne of our nation’s most recognizable and popu- lar icons is found in the Southern Black Hills. As one of the world’s most spectacular artistic and engineering achievements, Mount Rushmore is a timeless monument, not only to our national pride, but to the patriotism and de- termination of a sculptor and the miners he guided in carving a mountain into a work of art. Mount Rushmore is one of the largest sculptures in the world. It measures 250 feet across and each head is about 60 feet tall. Washing- ton’s head is as tall as the entire Great Sphinx of Egypt. The noses of the four presidents are approxi- mately 21 feet long, while the mouths are about 18 feet wide. Men on the scale of the Mount Rush- more figures would stand as tall as a 40-story building. Between Oct. 4, 1927, and Oct. 31, 1941, sculptor Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history at a cost of $989,992.32. Notably for a proj- ect of such size, no workers died during the carving. Borglum died in March 1941. His son, Lincoln, con- tinued the project. “Until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away.” Those are the famous words Borglum used to describe the length of time his most famous work will endure. Today, along the Avenue of Flags, the flags of the 56 states and territories fly below the memorial. The avenue leads to the Grandview Terrace and Presidential Trail, a half-mile walking trail that offers spectacular views of the mountain sculpture. The mountain was named after Charles Rushmore, a New York lawyer investigating mining claims in the Black Hills in 1885. Borglum chose this mountain due to its height (5700' above sea level), the soft grainy consistency of the gran- ite and the fact that it catches the sun for the greatest part of the day. The presidents were selected on the basis of what each symbolized: George Washington, the struggle for independence; Thomas Jeffer- son, the idea of government by the people; Abraham Lincoln, ideas on equality and the permanent union of the states; and Theodore Roo- sevelt, the 20th century role of the U.S. in world affairs. Rangers provide interpretive walks and talks, including the Evening Sculpture Lighting Cere- mony at approximately 9 p.m. nightly (May-September). There are guided walks to the Sculptor’s Studio, Presidential Trail walks, talks on the Grandview Terrace and afternoon children’s activities. Over the decades, Mount Rush- more has grown in fame as a sym- bol of America — a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds. Located 23 miles southwest of Rapid City, Mount Rushmore is something you don’t want to miss. It’s one of the greatest attractions in the U.S.!