What is Mount Rushmore?

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Mount Rushmore is a huge granite mountain situated in the Black Hills in South Dakota., near Keystone. The Mountain has the sculpture of four American Presidents. It was a kind of dedication to these presidents who were responsible for laying the foundation, growth and prosperity of the United States. The official name of this monumental sculpture is Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The memorial becomes a venue for a number of activities held through the year. Other attractions include a bookshop, gift store and eating out places. The entire sculpture becomes resplendent with light for a couple of hours every night.

Who sculpted  Mount Rushmore?

The huge monument of Mount Rushmore was splendidly sculpted by the sculptor John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum. Nearly four hundred stone workers were involved in the construction which commenced on 10th August 1927. The construction was finally completed only in the year 1941.The memorial is at a height of 5,725 feet covering more than 1,278 acres.

The Mount Rushmore memorial depicts the images of President Abraham Lincoln, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The faces rise to a towering height of 60 feet measuring from the forehead to the chin. This would be as tall as a building with six floors. The width of each eye measures an astounding eleven feet.

The funds for the construction of Mount Rushmore were provided by the Federal Government apart from private donations. Though the work started off in 1927, it was delayed due to slowing of funds and bad weather at other times. The actual construction work was done for only six years of the total fourteen years that was required for the actual completion of the project. The finishing touches to the monument were overseen by Borglum’s son Lincoln Borglum in 1941 after Borglum’s demise.

Do you know some facts about the Ecology of Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore is mainly filled with granite and the ecology of the area is largely influenced by this. The pine forests surrounding the area have become a habitat for small birds such as woodpeckers, nuthatches and songbirds. The larger birds which include hawks, meadowlarks, eagles and vultures inhabit and nest around Mount Rushmore.

The monument is almost completely enveloped by coniferous trees, at lower levels, such as the bur oak, Ponderosa pine, cottonwood and Black Hills Spruce. These trees provide adequate shade to the monuments from harsh weather conditions.

While in Mount Rushmore don’t be surprised to encounter mammals such as squirrels, spunk, sheep, bobcats, raccoons, beavers, badgers, mountain goats, frogs and mice. Two gurgling streams found in the area , the Starling Basin brooks and the Grizzly Bear are home to various types of fishes such as the brook trout and long nose dace.

South Dakota’s economy is largely tourist driven with Mount Rushmore being the topmost attraction. The area is managed by the National Park Service of USA. Nearly two million tourists have been estimated to have visited the memorial in 2004 and continues to attract the same number every year.

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