The Icon: Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore was conceived in the early 1920s by historian Doane Robinson to draw tourists to South Dakota. Today, nearly three million visitors come each year to ogle the massive busts, each as tall as a six-story building. Here are some fun facts about the national masterpiece.

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A memorial to Crazy Horse is being carved in the Black Hills of South Dakota less than 20 miles from Mount Rushmore. (Photograph by Ocean/Corbis)

A state project that became a masterpiece, Mount Rushmore was conceived in the early 1920s by state historian Doane Robinson to draw tourists to South Dakota.

After hearing about a project to chisel the Confederate leaders on the face of Stone Mountain in Georgia, Robinson wrote the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, and invited him to the Black Hills.

It was Borglum who picked the four presidents and the granite expanse, and in 1925, Congress agreed to fund the idea. Borglum and hundreds of workers spent the next 14 years and a million dollars creating the monument.

Today, nearly three million visitors come each year to ogle the massive busts, each as tall as a six-story building.

Here are a few fun facts about the nationalistic landmark:

    The beginning: Sacred to the Lakota, “Six Grandfathers” mountain got its new name from New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore, who visited the Black Hills in the 1880s. The runners-up: The original plan was to showcase Lewis and Clark, Chief Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill, but Gutzon Borglum decided the four presidents made more significant...
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