Mount Rushmore Facts

Mount Rushmore is an impressive sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota. The brainchild of American sculptor Gutzon Borglum, it was begun in 1927 and was not completed until 1941.

Consisting of the faces of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, Mount Rushmore is a popular tourist attraction that attracts around two million visitors annually.

Quick Navigation

Mount Rushmore Facts for Kids

  • Historian Doane Robinson came up with the idea for Mount Rushmore
  • Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was recruited for the project.
  • Mt Rushmore was carved between 1927 and 1941
  • It took a team of 400 men to do the carving.
  • Nobody died during the construction.
  • The height of each President’s face is 60 feet high.

A Brief History

It all started in 1923 when Doane Robinson, a state historian, came up with the idea of turning Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota into a sculpture of influential presidents in United States history.

He approached sculptor Gutzon Borglum and told him he had the idea to create a sculpture on a scale that would be unprecedented.

The sculpture would commemorate George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Borglum knew that this project was not going to be an easy task.

Work finally commenced on October 4, 1927

Washington’s head was the first to be finished in 1934. Jefferson’s in 1936 and Lincoln’s was finished a year later. In 1939 Teddy Roosevelt’s face was finished. 

It cost $1 million, and most of it came from the federal government.

Unfortunately, Borglum passed away suddenly in 1941. His son Lincoln Borglum took over construction after his father’s death. Each President was supposed to be portrayed from head to waist. The height of each President would’ve been 465 feet high if the project was completed according to the original plan.

A lack of funds hindered the development of the project during the Great Depression.

Limited funding ended the construction in late October 1941.

Learn More

In 1923, South Dakota historian Doane Robinson came up with a plan to build a sculpture in the Black Hills. He needed to find a way to entice more tourists to the state.

There was also another site in South Dakota suggested for this memorial. It was abandoned as a potential location due to the poor quality of the granite and the Lakota’s (Sioux’s) resistance to its use.

At first, Robinson meant to carve the likenesses of Western heroes like Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud, Lewis and Clark, Buffalo Bill Cody, and other legendary figures into the nearby Needles.

Charles E. Rushmore contributed $5,000 towards the actual creation of the mountain bearing his name.

Mount Rushmore was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum, his son, and 400 other workers.

The original design and mock-up depicted the four presidents from the waist up.

It is sometimes referred to as a Shrine to Democracy.

Every President’s head is about 60 feet high on Mount Rushmore.

Each President was chosen for their respective important role in the country’s founding, expansion, preservation, and unification.

A total of 450,000 tons of granite was removed.

On October 31, 1941, the project stop with a lack of funds and ran out of money.

It took 14 years and $989,992.32 to finish the project.

More than 3 million people visit Mount Rushmore every year.

Symbolizing the nation’s identity and a part of American history, it is one of the most recognized icons in the world.

Mount Rushmore is an iconic symbol and has appeared in many books and movies since it was first built.

Nick Clifford was the last living carver of Mount Rushmore. Sadly he passed away in November 2019. Clifford was 98 years old.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are three facts about Mount Rushmore?

1. Mount Rushmore is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located on a mountain in Keystone, South Dakota

2. Construction work began in October 1927 and was completed on October 31, 1941, when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the memorial

3. The idea to carve Mt. Rushmore came from sculptor Gutzon Borglum and historian Doane Robinson

Why are there only four faces on Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore was the brainchild of sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who, at the request of South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson conceived and executed a colossal sculpture that depicts four influential United States presidents with one in each corner of Mount Rushmore. The four presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

What is special about Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a mountain carving located in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. The sculpture of the four U.S. presidents was conceived in 1923 to attract visitors to the region and also as a symbol of American exceptionalism.

Can you go inside Mt Rushmore

It has a secret room that nobody can enter. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed the chamber behind the facade to store details about Abraham Lincoln and the history of America from 1776 to 1906.

How many people died building Mount Rushmore

Nobody did during the project

Why is it called Mt Rushmore

It was originally known by the Lakota Sioux as the “Six Grandfathers” before it was renamed after prominent New York attorney Charles E. Rushmore in 1885.

Is Mount Rushmore on Native American land

Read the article here for a better understanding of this question

How long will Mt Rushmore last

 The U.S. National Park Service estimates that they’ll have to start making repairs on Mt Rushmore in about 50 years.

Are there secret tunnels in Mount Rushmore

No, there are no secret tunnels in Mount Rushmore.

What does Mount Rushmore stand for

Mount Rushmore stands for the idea of presidents who are considered to be great being honored. The monument is also a symbol of American nationalism.