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Mount Rushmore National Memorial Overview
Mount Rushmore National Memorial was carved by renowned sculpture Gutzon Borglum at the behest of then secretary of the South Dakota Historical Society Duane Robinson.
Robinson wanted to carve western folk heroes to bolster tourism in the area, but Borglum was intensely patriotic and insisted that the carving be of American Presidents, specifically ones who contributed to expanding and building our nation to what it is today.
The carving started in 1927, and finished 7 months after Borglum's death in 1941. Borglum died of an embolism while trying to raise money for the project. His son, Lincoln Borglum, would act as foreman while Borglum was traversing the country to raise funds. After his father's death, Lincoln made the finishing touches to the mountain before packing up and leaving. The faces from left to right represent George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The project cost just under a million dollars at $989,992.32. Roughly 400 people were employed for various jobs throughout the carving process.
The President's faces are 60 feet tall, and the mountain stands over 500 feet high. Every year, 2 million people travel to see the Shrine of Democracy.
The Mountain, and the Hall of Records behind it, has been featured in several films including Alfred Hitchcok's masterpiece "North by Northwest, Chris Eye's Skins, and the upcoming National Treasure II starring Nicholas Cage.