Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Overview
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 carved into the granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone
Keystone, South Dakota
Keystone is a town in the Black Hills region of Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 337 at the 2010 census. It had its origins in 1883 as a mining town, and has since transformed itself into a resort town, serving the needs of the millions of visitors to Mount...

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum was an American artist and sculptor famous for creating the monumental presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, the famous carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, as well as other public works of art.- Background :The son of Mormon Danish immigrants, Gutzon...

, an American of Danish ancestry, and his son, Lincoln Borglum
Lincoln Borglum
James Lincoln de la Mothe Borglum was an American sculptor, photographer, author and engineer; he was best known for overseeing the completion of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial after the death in 1941 of the project's leader, his father Gutzon Borglum.Named after his father's favorite...

, Mount Rushmore features 60 feet (18.3 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (in order from left to right) George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 and Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

. The entire memorial covers 1278.45 acres (5.2 km²) and is 5725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson
Doane Robinson
Jonah LeRoy "Doane" Robinson was a state historian of South Dakota who conceived of the idea for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.-Early life:...

 is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region.
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Encyclopedia
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 carved into the granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone
Keystone, South Dakota
Keystone is a town in the Black Hills region of Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 337 at the 2010 census. It had its origins in 1883 as a mining town, and has since transformed itself into a resort town, serving the needs of the millions of visitors to Mount...

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum was an American artist and sculptor famous for creating the monumental presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, the famous carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, as well as other public works of art.- Background :The son of Mormon Danish immigrants, Gutzon...

, an American of Danish ancestry, and his son, Lincoln Borglum
Lincoln Borglum
James Lincoln de la Mothe Borglum was an American sculptor, photographer, author and engineer; he was best known for overseeing the completion of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial after the death in 1941 of the project's leader, his father Gutzon Borglum.Named after his father's favorite...

, Mount Rushmore features 60 feet (18.3 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (in order from left to right) George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 and Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

. The entire memorial covers 1278.45 acres (5.2 km²) and is 5725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson
Doane Robinson
Jonah LeRoy "Doane" Robinson was a state historian of South Dakota who conceived of the idea for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.-Early life:...

 is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. Robinson's initial idea was to sculpt the Needles
Needles (Black Hills)
The Needles of the Black Hills of South Dakota are a region of fantastically eroded granite pillars, towers, and spires. Popular with rock climbers and tourists alike, the Needles are accessed from the Needles Highway, which is a part of Sylvan Lake Road...

; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles site due to the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from environmentalists and Native American groups. They settled on the Mount Rushmore location, the tallest mountain in the region, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Borglum also decided the sculpture should have a more national focus, and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.

The U.S. National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 took control of the memorial in 1933, while it was still under construction, and manages the memorial to the present day. It attracts approximately two million people annually.

History


Originally known to the Lakota Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

 as Six Grandfathers, the mountain was renamed after Charles E. Rushmore
Charles E. Rushmore
Charles E. Rushmore was an American businessman and attorney for whom Mount Rushmore is named. Born in New York City, he was the son of Edward Carmen Rushmore and Mary Eliza Rushmore, of Tuxedo Park, NY. He was married to the former Jeanette E...

, a prominent New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 lawyer, during an expedition in 1885. At first, the project of carving Rushmore was undertaken to increase tourism in the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 region of South Dakota. After long negotiations involving a Congressional
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 delegation and President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

, the project received Congressional approval. The carving started in 1927, and ended in 1941 with some injuries and no fatalities.

As Six Grandfathers, the mountain was part of the route that Lakota leader Black Elk
Black Elk
Heȟáka Sápa was a famous Wičháša Wakȟáŋ of the Oglala Lakota . He was Heyoka and a second cousin of Crazy Horse.-Life:...

 took in a spiritual journey that culminated at Harney Peak
Harney Peak
Harney Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota. Harney Peak is located within the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, within Black Hills National Forest...

. Following a series of military campaigns from 1876 to 1877, the United States asserted control over the area, a claim that is still disputed on the basis of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868)
The Treaty of Fort Laramie was an agreement between the United States and the Oglala, Miniconjou, and Brulé bands of Lakota people, Yanktonai Dakota, and Arapaho Nation signed in 1868 at Fort Laramie in the Wyoming Territory, guaranteeing to the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills, and further...

 (see section "Controversy" below). Among white American settlers, the peak was known variously as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, and Keystone Cliffs. It was named Mount Rushmore during a prospecting expedition by Charles Rushmore, David Swanzey (husband of Carrie Ingalls
Carrie Ingalls
Caroline Celestia "Carrie" Ingalls Swanzey was the third child of Charles and Caroline Ingalls, and was born in Montgomery County, Kansas...

), and Bill Challis.

Historian Doane Robinson
Doane Robinson
Jonah LeRoy "Doane" Robinson was a state historian of South Dakota who conceived of the idea for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.-Early life:...

 conceived the idea for Mount Rushmore in 1923 to promote tourism
Tourism in the United States
Tourism in the United States is a large industry that serves millions of international and domestic tourists yearly. Tourists visit the US to see natural wonders, cities, historic landmarks and entertainment venues...

 in South Dakota. In 1924, Robinson persuaded sculptor Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum was an American artist and sculptor famous for creating the monumental presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, the famous carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, as well as other public works of art.- Background :The son of Mormon Danish immigrants, Gutzon...

 to travel to the Black Hills region to ensure that the carving could be accomplished. Borglum had been involved in sculpting the Confederate Memorial Carving, a massive bas-relief memorial to Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 leaders on Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock in Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States. At its summit, the elevation is 1,686 feet amsl and 825 feet above the surrounding area. Stone Mountain granite extends underground at its longest point into Gwinnett County...

 in Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, but was in disagreement with the officials there. The original plan was to perform the carvings in granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 pillars known as the Needles
Needles (Black Hills)
The Needles of the Black Hills of South Dakota are a region of fantastically eroded granite pillars, towers, and spires. Popular with rock climbers and tourists alike, the Needles are accessed from the Needles Highway, which is a part of Sylvan Lake Road...

. However, Borglum realized that the eroded Needles were too thin to support sculpting. He chose Mount Rushmore, a grander location, partly because it faced southeast and enjoyed maximum exposure to the sun. Borglum said upon seeing Mount Rushmore, "America will march along that skyline." Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 authorized the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission on March 3, 1925. President Coolidge insisted that along with Washington, two Republicans and one Democrat be portrayed.
Between October 4, 1927, and October 31, 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the colossal 60 foot (18 m) high carvings of U.S. presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, and Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 to represent the first 150 years of American history. These presidents were selected by Borglum because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory. The image of Thomas Jefferson was originally intended to appear in the area at Washington's right, but after the work there was begun, the rock was found to be unsuitable, so the work on the Jefferson figure was dynamited, and a new figure was sculpted to Washington's left.

In 1933, the National Park Service took Mount Rushmore under its jurisdiction. Engineer Julian Spotts helped with the project by improving its infrastructure. For example, he had the tram upgraded so that it could reach the top of Mount Rushmore for the ease of workers. By July 4, 1934, Washington's face had been completed and was dedicated. The face of Thomas Jefferson was dedicated in 1936, and the face of Abraham Lincoln was dedicated on September 17, 1937. In 1937, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the head of civil-rights leader Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
Susan Brownell Anthony was a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women's rights movement to introduce women's suffrage into the United States. She was co-founder of the first Women's Temperance Movement with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as President...

, but a rider
Rider (legislation)
In legislative procedure, a rider is an additional provision added to a bill or other measure under the consideration by a legislature, having little connection with the subject matter of the bill. Riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its...

 was passed on an appropriations bill requiring that federal funds be used to finish only those heads that had already been started at that time. In 1939, the face of Theodore Roosevelt was dedicated.

The Sculptor's Studio — a display of unique plaster models and tools related to the sculpting — was built in 1939 under the direction of Borglum. Borglum died from an embolism
Embolism
In medicine, an embolism is the event of lodging of an embolus into a narrow capillary vessel of an arterial bed which causes a blockage in a distant part of the body.Embolization is...

 in March 1941. His son, Lincoln Borglum
Lincoln Borglum
James Lincoln de la Mothe Borglum was an American sculptor, photographer, author and engineer; he was best known for overseeing the completion of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial after the death in 1941 of the project's leader, his father Gutzon Borglum.Named after his father's favorite...

, continued the project. Originally, it was planned that the figures would be carved from head to waist, but insufficient funding forced the carving to end. Borglum had also planned a massive panel in the shape of the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

 commemorating in eight-foot-tall gilded letters the Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

, U.S. Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, Louisiana Purchase, and seven other territorial acquisitions from Alaska
Alaska purchase
The Alaska Purchase was the acquisition of the Alaska territory by the United States from Russia in 1867 by a treaty ratified by the Senate. The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained of new United States territory...

 to Texas
Texas Annexation
In 1845, United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War, during which the U.S. captured additional territory , extending the nation's...

 to the Panama Canal Zone
Panama Canal Zone
The Panama Canal Zone was a unorganized U.S. territory located within the Republic of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally extending 5 miles on each side of the centerline, but excluding Panama City and Colón, which otherwise would have been partly within the limits of...

.

The entire project cost US$989,992.32. Notable for a project of such size, no workers died during the carving.

On October 15, 1966, Mount Rushmore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

. A 500-word essay giving the history of the United States by Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

 student William Andrew Burkett was selected as the college-age group winner in a 1934 competition, and that essay was placed on the Entablature on a bronze plate in 1973. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 officially dedicated Mount Rushmore.

In a canyon behind the carved faces is a chamber, cut only 70 feet (21 m) into the rock, containing a vault with sixteen porcelain enamel panels. The panels include the text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, biographies of the four presidents and Borglum, and the history of the U.S. The chamber was created as the entrance-way to a planned "Hall of Records"; the vault was installed in 1998.

Ten years of redevelopment work culminated with the completion of extensive visitor facilities and sidewalks in 1998, such as a Visitor Center, the Lincoln Borglum Museum
Lincoln Borglum Museum
The Lincoln Borglum Museum is located in the Mount Rushmore National Memorial near Keystone, South Dakota. It features two 125-seat theaters that show a 13-minute movie about Mount Rushmore. One of the best viewpoints is located at Grandview Terrace, above the Museum...

, and the Presidential Trail. Maintenance of the memorial requires mountain climbers to monitor and seal cracks annually. Due to budget constraints, the memorial is not regularly cleaned to remove lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

s. However, on July 8, 2005, Alfred Kärcher GmbH
Kärcher
Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG is a German manufacturer of cleaning systems and equipment, known for its high-pressure cleaners.- History :The inventor Alfred Kärcher from Baden-Württemberg founded the company in 1935. Initially Kärcher specialised in the design of industrial submersible heating...

, a German manufacturer of pressure washing
Pressure washer
A pressure washer is a high pressure mechanical sprayer that can be used to remove loose paint, mold, grime, dust, mud, and dirt from surfaces and objects such as buildings, vehicles, and concrete road surfaces. The volume of a pressure washer is expressed in Gallons Per Minute, which is designed...

 and steam cleaning machines, conducted a free cleanup operation that lasted several weeks, using pressurized water at over 200 °F (93.3 °C).

Controversy


Mount Rushmore is controversial among Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 because the United States seized the area from the Lakota tribe after the Great Sioux War of 1876. The Treaty of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868)
The Treaty of Fort Laramie was an agreement between the United States and the Oglala, Miniconjou, and Brulé bands of Lakota people, Yanktonai Dakota, and Arapaho Nation signed in 1868 at Fort Laramie in the Wyoming Territory, guaranteeing to the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills, and further...

 from 1868 had previously granted the Black Hills to the Lakota in perpetuity. Members of the American Indian Movement
American Indian Movement
The American Indian Movement is a Native American activist organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty...

 led an occupation
Occupation (protest)
An as an act of protest, is the entry into and holding of a building, space or symbolic site. As such, occupations often combine some of the following elements: a challenge to ownership of the space involved, an effort to gain public attention, the practical use of the facilities occupied, and a...

 of the monument in 1971, naming it "Mount Crazy Horse". Among the participants were young activists, grandparents, children and Lakota holy man John Fire Lame Deer, who planted a prayer staff atop the mountain. Lame Deer said the staff formed a symbolic shroud
Shroud
Shroud usually refers to an item, such as a cloth, that covers or protects some other object. The term is most often used in reference to burial sheets, winding-cloths or winding-sheets, such as the famous Shroud of Turin or Tachrichim that Jews are dressed in for burial...

 over the presidents' faces "which shall remain dirty until the treaties concerning the Black Hills are fulfilled."

In 2004, the first Native American superintendent of the park was appointed. Gerard Baker has stated that he will open up more "avenues of interpretation", and that the four presidents are "only one avenue and only one focus."

The Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial
The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument complex that is under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills, in Custer County, South Dakota. It represents Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The memorial was commissioned by Lakota...

 is being constructed elsewhere in the Black Hills to commemorate the famous Native American leader and as a response to Mount Rushmore. It is intended to be larger than Mount Rushmore and has the support of Lakota chiefs; the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has rejected offers of federal
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 funds. However, this memorial is likewise the subject of controversy, even within the Native American community.

The monument also provokes controversy, because some allege that underlying it is the theme of racial superiority legitimized by the idea of Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

. The four presidents chosen by Borglum were all active during the period when the United States was annexing Native American land. Gutzon Borglum himself excites controversy, because he was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

.

Ecology


The flora and fauna of Mount Rushmore are similar to those of the rest of the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Birds including the turkey vulture
Turkey Vulture
The Turkey Vulture is a bird found throughout most of the Americas. It is also known in some North American regions as the Turkey Buzzard , and in some areas of the Caribbean as the John Crow or Carrion Crow...

, bald eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

, hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

, and meadowlark
Meadowlark
Meadowlarks are birds belonging to the genus Sturnella in the New World family Icteridae.This genus includes seven species of largely insectivorous grassland birds...

 fly around Mount Rushmore, occasionally making nesting spots
Bird nest
A bird nest is the spot in which a bird lays and incubates its eggs and raises its young. Although the term popularly refers to a specific structure made by the bird itself—such as the grassy cup nest of the American Robin or Eurasian Blackbird, or the elaborately woven hanging nest of the...

 in the ledges of the mountain. Smaller birds, including songbirds, nuthatch
Nuthatch
The nuthatches are a genus, Sitta, of small passerine birds belonging to the family Sittidae. Characterised by large heads, short tails, and powerful bills and feet, nuthatches advertise their territory using loud, simple songs...

es, and woodpecker
Woodpecker
Woodpeckers are near passerine birds of the order Piciformes. They are one subfamily in the family Picidae, which also includes the piculets and wrynecks. They are found worldwide and include about 180 species....

s, inhabit the surrounding pine forests. Terrestrial mammals include the mouse
Mouse
A mouse is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse . It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles...

, chipmunk
Chipmunk
Chipmunks are small striped squirrels native to North America and Asia. They are usually classed either as a single genus with three subgenera, or as three genera.-Etymology and taxonomy:...

, squirrel
Squirrel
Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots , flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa and have been introduced to Australia...

, skunk
Skunk
Skunks are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance varies from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks belong to the family Mephitidae and to the order Carnivora...

, porcupine
Porcupine
Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend or camouflage them from predators. They are indigenous to the Americas, southern Asia, and Africa. Porcupines are the third largest of the rodents, behind the capybara and the beaver. Most porcupines are about long, with...

, raccoon
Raccoon
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

, beaver
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

, badger
Badger
Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the weasel family, Mustelidae. There are nine species of badger, in three subfamilies : Melinae , Mellivorinae , and Taxideinae...

, coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

, bighorn sheep
Bighorn Sheep
The bighorn sheep is a species of sheep in North America named for its large horns. These horns can weigh up to , while the sheep themselves weigh up to . Recent genetic testing indicates that there are three distinct subspecies of Ovis canadensis, one of which is endangered: Ovis canadensis sierrae...

, and bobcat
Bobcat
The bobcat is a North American mammal of the cat family Felidae, appearing during the Irvingtonian stage of around 1.8 million years ago . With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States...

. In addition, several species of frog
Frog
Frogs are amphibians in the order Anura , formerly referred to as Salientia . Most frogs are characterized by a short body, webbed digits , protruding eyes and the absence of a tail...

s and snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

s inhabit the region. The two streams in the memorial, the Grizzly Bear and Starling Basin brooks, support fish such as the longnose dace
Dace
A dace is any of a number of species of small fish. The unmodified name is usually a reference to the Common Dace . This, like most fishes called "daces", belongs to the family Cyprinidae, mostly in subfamily Leuciscinae....

 and the brook trout
Brook trout
The brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, is a species of fish in the salmon family of order Salmoniformes. In many parts of its range, it is known as the speckled trout or squaretail. A potamodromous population in Lake Superior are known as coaster trout or, simply, as coasters...

. Mountain goat
Mountain goat
The Mountain Goat , also known as the Rocky Mountain Goat, is a large-hoofed mammal found only in North America. Despite its vernacular name, it is not a member of Capra, the genus of true goats...

s are not indigenous to the area but can also be found here. They are descended from goats which were a gift from Canada to Custer State Park
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt...

 in 1924 but later escaped.

At lower elevations, coniferous
Pinophyta
The conifers, division Pinophyta, also known as division Coniferophyta or Coniferae, are one of 13 or 14 division level taxa within the Kingdom Plantae. Pinophytes are gymnosperms. They are cone-bearing seed plants with vascular tissue; all extant conifers are woody plants, the great majority being...

 trees, mainly the Ponderosa pine
Ponderosa Pine
Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, Blackjack Pine, or Western Yellow Pine, is a widespread and variable pine native to western North America. It was first described by David Douglas in 1826, from eastern Washington near present-day Spokane...

, surround most of the monument, providing shade from the sun. Other trees include the bur oak
Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa, the Bur Oak, sometimes spelled Burr Oak, is a species of oak in the white oak section Quercus sect. Quercus, native to North America in the eastern and midwestern United States and south-central Canada...

, the Black Hills spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

, and the cottonwood. Nine species of shrubs live near Mount Rushmore. There is also a wide variety of wildflowers, including especially the snapdragon
Antirrhinum
Antirrhinum is a genus of plants commonly known as snapdragons from the flowers' fancied resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed...

, sunflower
Sunflower
Sunflower is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence . The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads...

, and violet
Violet (plant)
Viola is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae, with around 400–500 species distributed around the world. Most species are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere; however, viola species are also found in widely divergent areas such as Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes in...

. Towards higher elevations, plant life becomes sparser. However, only approximately five percent of the plant species found in the Black Hills are indigenous to the region.

The area receives about 18 inches (457.2 mm) of precipitation on average per year, enough to support abundant animal and plant life. Trees and other plants help to control surface runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

. Dikes, seeps, and springs help to dam up water that is flowing downhill, providing watering spots for animals. In addition, stones like sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 and limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 help to hold groundwater
Groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

, creating aquifer
Aquifer
An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology...

s.

Forest fires occur in the Ponderosa forests surrounding Mount Rushmore around every 27 years. This was determined from fire scars in tree core samples. These help to clean forest debris located on the ground. Large conflagrations are rare, but have occurred in the past.

Geology


Mount Rushmore is largely composed of granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

. The memorial is carved on the northwest margin of the Harney Peak
Harney Peak
Harney Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota. Harney Peak is located within the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, within Black Hills National Forest...

 granite batholith
Batholith
A batholith is a large emplacement of igneous intrusive rock that forms from cooled magma deep in the Earth's crust...

 in the Black Hills of South Dakota, so the geologic formations of the heart of the Black Hills region are also evident at Mount Rushmore. The batholith magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 intruded into the pre-existing mica
Mica
The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition...

 schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

 rocks during the Precambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 period about 1.6 billion years ago. Very coarse grained pegmatite
Pegmatite
A pegmatite is a very crystalline, intrusive igneous rock composed of interlocking crystals usually larger than 2.5 cm in size; such rocks are referred to as pegmatitic....

 is associated with the granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 of Harney Peak. The light-colored streaks in the presidents' foreheads are due to these dikes.

The Black Hills granites were exposed to erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

 during the late Precambrian, but were buried by sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

s and other sediments during the Cambrian
Cambrian
The Cambrian is the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, lasting from Mya ; it is succeeded by the Ordovician. Its subdivisions, and indeed its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latin name for Wales, where Britain's...

 Period. The area remained buried throughout the Paleozoic
Paleozoic
The Paleozoic era is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon, spanning from roughly...

 Era, but was exposed again to erosion during the tectonic
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 uplift about 70 million years ago. The Black Hills area was uplifted as an elongated geologic dome. The subsequent natural erosion of this mountain range allowed the carvings by stripping the granite of the overlying sediments and the softer adjacent schists. The contact between the granite and darker schist is viewable just below the sculpture of Washington.

Borglum selected Mount Rushmore as the site for several reasons. The rock of the mountain is composed of smooth, fine-grained granite. The durable granite erodes only 1 inches (25.4 mm) every 10,000 years, indicating that it was sturdy enough to support sculpting. In addition, it was the tallest mountain in the region, looming to a height of 5725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level. Because the mountain faces the southeast, the workers also had the advantage of sunlight for most of the day.

Tourism


Tourism is South Dakota's second-largest industry, and Mount Rushmore is its top tourist attraction. In 2004, over two million visitors traveled to the memorial. The site is also home to the final concerts of Rushmore Music Camp and attracts many visitors over the week of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an American motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, usually the first full week of August.-History:...

.

Popular culture



Due to its fame as a monument, Mount Rushmore is frequently discussed or depicted in media, film and popular culture.
The memorial was iconically used as the location of the climactic chase scene in Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

's 1959 movie North by Northwest
North by Northwest
North by Northwest is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, and featuring Leo G. Carroll and Martin Landau...

. Scriptwriter Ernest Lehman
Ernest Lehman
Ernest Lehman was an American screenwriter. He received 6 Academy Award nominations during his screenwriting career...

 recalled that in the course of screenwriting
Screenwriting
Screenwriting is the art and craft of writing scripts for mass media such as feature films, television productions or video games. It is a freelance profession....

, Hitchcock "murmured wistfully, 'I always wanted to do a chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore.'" The scene was not actually filmed at the monument, since permission to shoot an attempted killing on the face of a national monument
U.S. National Monument
A National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and...

 was refused by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

. The film incorrectly depicts a forested plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 and the house of the villain
Villain
A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters...

 atop the monument.

See also



Further reading

  • Larner, Jesse
    Jesse Larner
    Jesse Larner is a New York-based writer on politics and culture. He is the author of Mount Rushmore: An Icon Reconsidered and Forgive Us Our Spins: Michael Moore and the Future of the Left His work has been featured on Radio Nation, the Kojo Nnamdi Show, and NPR...

    . Mount Rushmore: An Icon Reconsidered New York: Nation Books, 2002.
  • Taliaferro, John. Great White Fathers: The Story of the Obsessive Quest to Create Mount Rushmore. New York: PublicAffairs, c2002. Puts the creation of the monument into a historical and cultural context.
  • The National Parks: Index 2001–2003. Washington: United States Department of the Interior
    United States Department of the Interior
    The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U.S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native...


External links