Mount Rushmore – Presidents, Location, and Fun Facts

Petr Novák

You’ve likely seen Mount Rushmore before; the 59 ft-high portrait of four presidents, carved into rock, is one of the most famous symbols of the USA. The national monument is situated near the town of Keystone in South Dakota and attracts around two million visitors each year. But which presidents are immortalized in the rock, and what was the cost of creating this memorial?

Mount Rushmore – Presidents, Location, and Fun Facts | © Unsplash.com

  1. Table of Contents
    1. Presidents on Mount Rushmore Rock to Boost Tourism
    2. Fun Facts About Mount Rushmore National Monument
    3. How to Visit Mount Rushmore National Monument
    4. Photos of Mount Rushmore National Monument

    Presidents on Mount Rushmore Rock to Boost Tourism

    Historian Doane Robinson proposed carving significant figures in American history into rock in the early 1920s. This concept was well-received as tourism in South Dakota is a primary source of revenue, and for American patriots, seeing the presidents immortalized in stone is an experience not to be missed.

    The memorial’s construction commenced in 1927, with the four presidents to represent the USA’s then 130-year history selected right from the start. Portrayed on Mount Rushmore, from left to right, are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

    Work on the Mount Rushmore statues continued until October 31, 1941. Regrettably, sculptor Gutzon Borglum didn’t live to witness the completion, passing away from an embolism approximately six months prior. His son, Lincoln Borglum, was required to assume the responsibility. However, it’s notable that no one lost their lives during the work—a rarity for such projects at the time. Around 400 workers contributed to the monument’s construction.

    At the time, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial cost $989,992.32 to construct. In today’s currency (2023), this amount equates to $17,116,626.

  2. Fun Facts About Mount Rushmore National Monument

    The identities of the first three presidents etched into Mount Rushmore’s rock were predetermined: George Washington, as the inaugural president of the USA; Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence; and Abraham Lincoln, who preserved the nation during the Civil War. The identity of the fourth, however, provoked debate, with some suggesting Woodrow Wilson and others favoring Theodore Roosevelt. Ultimately, Roosevelt was chosen.

    Mount Rushmore Memorial conceals a secret chamber, initially intended to house a hall of American history. This room was planned to feature busts of notable Americans and display key documents from USA history. Unfortunately, funds depleted during construction, leading the USA government to slash the budget and mandate that only the carving of the faces should proceed. As a result, the Hall remains incomplete and closed to the public, although documents outlining the Mount Rushmore Memorial’s construction were deposited there in 1998.

    Mount Rushmore’s name doesn’t stem from the presidents; the rock was named around 1885 after New York attorney Charles E. Rushmore. While passing through the area, Rushmore asked his guide for the name of the rock. The guide responded that it was yet to be named, but from then on, it would be known as “Rushmore.” Charles E. Rushmore subsequently became one of the earliest donors contributing to the monument’s construction.

    Contrary to appearances in photographs, the presidents’ statues at Mount Rushmore are actually smaller. Each head measures just 59 ft in height, while the Statue of Liberty, for example, stands at 151 ft tall.

  3. How to Visit Mount Rushmore National Monument

    🗺️ Where is Mount Rushmore?

    Mount Rushmore is situated near the town of Keystone, South Dakota. The larger town in the vicinity is Rapid City, and the monument is nestled within the Black Hills.

    🚗 How to Get to Mount Rushmore

    To reach Mount Rushmore, I suggest renting a car, then taking the Rapid City exit from I-90. Proceed southwest on U.S. Highway 16 to Keystone, and then take Highway 244 to Mount Rushmore. Public transportation options are limited—while there is a Greyhound service to Rapid City, there’s no regular service directly to the monument. Your only option would be to take a paid tour, which includes a shuttle service.

    🅿️ Parking at Mount Rushmore

    There’s a large parking lot at Mount Rushmore that accommodates hundreds of cars. The parking fee per car is $10.00 (updated April 2023), valid for one year, and credit card payment is accepted.

    🎟️ Admission to Mount Rushmore

    Entry to Mount Rushmore National Monument is free, and there’s no need for advance booking. Only parking incurs a fee.

    🕒 Mount Rushmore Opening Hours

    Mount Rushmore Memorial is open daily from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm, with early closing at 9:00 pm from early October through early March.

    Visitor centers and concession stands usually operate from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, but opening hours may change depending on the season or weather conditions.

    📅 Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore

    Mount Rushmore’s peak season runs from June through August, the months when the site sees the most tourists. To evade the crowds, plan your visit early in the morning, ideally before 9 am. If you’re not a morning person, consider scheduling your tour after 3:30 pm.

    Weather conditions are also favorable in May, September, and October, and during these months, there are fewer tourists.

    🛏️ Hotels Near Mount Rushmore

    There are numerous lodges and motels near Mount Rushmore. The largest selection of accommodations can be found in the towns of Custer, Keystone, and Rapid City. However, availability might be limited during peak season, so it’s best to book your accommodation early.

    💡 Good to Know Before Visiting Mount Rushmore

    If you plan to visit in the afternoon, try to stay until after dark to witness the Mount Rushmore lighting ceremony. You can access the restrooms in the visitor center, which also features a gift shop for souvenirs and refreshments.

  4. Photos of Mount Rushmore National Monument

    Mount Rushmore – Presidents, Location, and Fun Facts | © Unsplash.com

    Mount Rushmore – Presidents, Location, and Fun Facts | © Pixabay.com

    Mount Rushmore – Presidents, Location, and Fun Facts | © Pixabay.com

    Mount Rushmore – Presidents, Location, and Fun Facts | © Pixabay.com

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