North America, United States
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is one of the most famous monuments in the United States and stands as a symbol of democracy. The four presidents carved into the granite cliff are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. They are said to represent the growth, development and preservation of the United States.
Mount Rushmore is named for a very simple reason – one day a man called Charles Rushmore passed by this enormous granite cliff and decided to carve his name into it. When the idea for the monument came about the same Charles Rushmore made a generous $5,000 contribution to the project. Not a bad price for a very impressive namesake…
The monument at Mount Rushmore was the idea of historian Doane Robinson and was created by the somewhat crazy but undeniably talented Gutzon Borglum. According to Bill Bryson’s book '1927' there was some controversy over the presidents selected for the monument – nobody had a problem with Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln but apparently it was widely felt that Roosevelt was selected more for his friendship with Borglum than for any particular great act! It seems pretty likely that Borglum was a controversial character but there can be no doubt that without his incredible ability the hugely impressive Mount Rushmore would never have existed.
Visitors to Mount Rushmore can enjoy taking a walk along the Presidential Trail; a half mile hike that offers unique perspectives of the monument allowing for some fantastic photographic opportunities. You can also head to the Grand View Terrace where you can enjoy the traditional view of Mount Rushmore – this is particularly beautiful if you manage to arrive before sunrise.
The best time to visit Mount Rushmore is from May to September as there are some additional activities occurring during this period. At this time you can visit the Sculptor’s Studio – an exhibit showing unique plaster models and carving tools to explain how Gutzon Borglum came up with the idea of, and created, Mount Rushmore. During this period you can also enjoy the Nightly Lighting Ceremony. Occurring every evening it pays tribute to the creation of the monument with a video, a salute to veterans, a flag lowering ceremony and the lighting of the memorial.
One fun fact to leave you with – did you know that in addition to writing the Declaration of Independence, abolishing the slave trade and oh, one or two, other achievements, Thomas Jefferson was also the man who popularised icecream in the United States? Yes, his icecream recipe was the first recorded by an American. What a guy. You can try his recipe on your Mount Rushmore visit!
|Type of Activity:||Monuments|