These four presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln – were chosen by sculptor Gutzon Borglum to represent the initial birth of the nation, its growth and development and preservation. Together, these four men exemplifies what it means to be american.
Doane Robinson originally sought to feature american west heroes like Lewis and Clark, their expedition guide Sacagawea, Oglala Lakota chief Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody and Oglala Lakota chief Crazy Horse. But Borglum believed the memorial should have more universal appeal and so chose the iconic four presidents.
U.S. senator Peter Norbeck sponsored the project and obtained federal funding to begin construction in 1927. The presidents faces – measuring roughly 60ft tall – were completed between 1934 and 1939. After Gutzon Borglum's death in 1941, his son Lincoln took over the project, the completion of which unfortunately came to be limited by a lack of funding.
As a tribute to democracy and its values, Mount Rushmore national Memorial continues to draw millions of visitors from all corners of the globe. This memorial serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of leadership, democracy, freedom and progress itself, themes that Mount Rushmore has celebrated for almost a century.
Mount Rushmore, mountain in South Dakota featuring a sculpture of four US presidents
Location: Pennington County
Inception: March 3, 1927
Official opening: October 31, 1941
Elevation above the sea: 1,745 m
Area: 5.17 km²