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Mount Rushmore – South Dakota, USA

Mount Rushmore is one of those timeless national landmarks that every American should see.  At any rate, it'll give you a reason to explore South Dakota!


A South Dakota State Historian by the name of Doane Robinson dreamt up the idea to attract more people to the Black Hills of South Dakota by making massive carvings of his favorite American Heroes in 1923.  He received support from important State congressmen and a US Senator, leading to congressional approval of the mountain carving in Black Hills National Forest.

They found a sculptor by the name of Gutzon Borglum who helped them find a suitable location.  The group finally decided on Mount Rushmore since it was the tallest peak and happened to have the strongest stone.  Robinson decided to use the figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.  By 1927, the first carving work had begun with rough dynamite excavations.  Work took place in several stages, and was finally completed in 1941.


From right to left, the faces carved in Mount Rushmore are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.  Each was chosen to represent a specific period of American history.

The entire Mount Rushmore Memorial Park covers about 1,300 acres of lush forest and mid-sized mountains.  The site of the memorial itself recently received upgraded tourist facilities including a new visitor's center, museum, and a spectacular mountain walking-trail for a close-up view.

Though the memorial is a great photo opportunity, there isn't a whole lot to see once you've gotten past the initial awe and wonder.  Though the museum and visitor's center can be informative, the entire visitor's complex is still small in comparison to a real museum.

If you're going to see the Mount Rushmore Memorial, be sure to enjoy the rest of the park as it is home to a wide variety of native species not found anywhere else in the States.