Mount Rushmore National Memorial as a symbol of America´s democracy
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a northwestern federal state of the U.S. is the famous national monument, called Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It shows the portraits of the four famous American presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, which are carved in the stone of Mount Rushmore. As a “shrine of democracy” the monument represents America´s democracy, to which those four presidents have contributed considerably. It is also known as the world´s greatest mountain carving. The idea of this project came from the historian Doane Robinson in order to promote tourism in the region.
Visiting the memorial
The Grandview Terrace, a lookout point and Presidential Trail, a half-mile walking trail provide the best views of the mountain sculpture. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial contains also the Lincoln Borglum Museum and the Sculptor´s Studio and an evening program at the amphitheatre. Park rangers offer guided tours as well. Besides its historical function, the area also serves as home to many animals and plants representative of the Black Hills.
John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum sculpted the 18 meter high president faces into the granite face of the mountain. He began with the construction in 1927, but lack of funding forced it to end in October 1941. Therefore the initial concept that called for each president to be depicted from head to waist could not be fulfilled.
Since construction was finished and a Visitor´s Center has been opened, Mount Rushmore National Memorial attracts nearly three million people a year.
Lots of Americans see it as their duty to visit the monument once in their lifetime.
How to get there
Mount Rushmore is located 23 miles south west of Rapid City, the second largest city of South Dakota and you can only get there by car.
From Rapid City, private tour companies can also bring you to the memorial.
The most direct route is via Interstate 90, exiting at Rapid City and then following Highway 16, which leads directly to Keystone. From Keystone you take Highway 244 to the Mount Rushmore Memorial entrance and parking.
When you are coming from the south, you should take Highway 385 north (through Hot Springs and Custer) to Highway 244, which is the road leading to the Memorial.