The one national memorial that I have wanted to visit since I was a child is Mount Rushmore. I got to do just that this week. We drove into Keystone and then out to the monument. It’s a pretty impressive sight as you’re approaching on the highway.
The entire park is impressive. The park is free to visit but you do have to buy an annual parking pass for $11. Ours expires next May.
Once parked, we took the stairs to the Information Center/Gift Shop area where we were met with hundreds of other people here to see the same thing. And we avoided the weekend because we thought IT would be busy! :)
As we continued on, the bust of Gutzon Borglum was on display. Borglum was the sculptor who designed and sculpted Mt. Rushmore. He was 58 years old when he first started the design in 1925. The sculpting began in 1927 and Borglum died in 1941 shortly before the work was finished. His son, Lincoln, completed the monument for his father.
Borglum chose these specific presidents because they commemorate the founding, growth, preservation and development of the United States. They symbolize the principles of liberty and freedom on which this nation was founded.
George Washington signifies the struggle for independence and the birth of the Republic; Thomas Jefferson represents the territorial expansion of the country; Abraham Lincoln stand for the permanent union of the States and equality for all citizens and Theodore Roosevelt exemplifies the 20th century role of the United States in world affairs and the industrial growth of the nation. Source: National Park Service
Next, we came to the Avenue of Flags. The 56 flags on display here represent the states, districts, commonwealths and territories of the United States.
The pillars were engraved with each state name and when they were admitted into the Union.
Once we reached the Grand View Terrace viewing area, we could look down to see the amphitheater at the base of the mountain
or up, to get our first close-up look of the monument.
Each face is 60 feet tall. Each eye is 11 feet wide.
Washington’s nose is 21 feet long. All other noses are 20 feet long. Washington’s mouth is 18 feet wide.
We took in a short film on the making of Mt. Rushmore in the museum area. It took over 400 men and women 14 years to complete this work. Most of the workers were local miners, lumbermen and ranchers. The hours were long and the pay was low. The total cost of the project was $989,992.32. Can you imagine what that would be in today’s dollars?! The main sculpting tool was dynamite and the drill was a jackhammer. Hard work indeed!
We walked part of the Presidential Trail.
There, while walking down into a cave, I got this shot of Washington through a narrow crevice in the ceiling. I thought that was kind of cool :) It would have been cooler if it hadn’t been so bright out there. George looks a bit washed out but I still liked the shot :)
All in all, I am so glad I finally got to see Mount Rushmore. It gave me quite of sense of patriotism standing there looking at this masterpiece. I would highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.
We cut through Custer State Park again on the way home and stopped to say “hi” to this guy :)
Thanks for stopping by.