Alicia A. Gates

Facts About Mount Rushmore

Facts About Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is one of the American treasures. Judge Napolitano knows this. He also realized that people do not know as much about Mount Rushmore as they should. They may know what it is but that is about it. Napolitano has some interesting facts about Mount Rushmore he would live to share.

Borglum designed Mount Rushmore with the idea that it would be a Shrine to Democracy. He wanted to put four faces into the mountain. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were two obvious choices for this mountain. Abraham Lincoln was also decided to be the third face. There was debate over who the fourth face should be. Some wanted Teddy Roosevelt and others wanted Woodrow Wilson. In the end, Roosevelt ended up being the fourth face.

In 1937 there was a request that Susan B. Anthony be a face on Mount Rushmore. A bill was even sent to Congress asking for this. At this time the Great Depression happened and things were not going well in Europe before World War II. Congress did not feel that it was wise to use money at this time and that the four heads would have to do so.

There is a question as to where the name of Mount Rushmore came from. This mountain was named after Charles E. Rushmore. He was an attorney out of New York. He was visiting South Dakota when he saw this peak. He donated money to get this project started and was able to keep his name on the peak.

Carving the face on the side of a mountain peak is a lot of work. There were over 450,000 tons of granite that needed to be removed. Work on the mountain began with chisels and jackhammers. It was decided that dynamite was to be used to make holes in the granite. This helped move things along slightly.

In addition to the president’s faces in Mount Rushmore, there were supposed to be words included in them. They were going to be called the Entablature. This was to be no more than 500 words telling about historical events. President Coolidge and the construction crew could not agree on words or where to put them. It was then decided to go with the faces. People would not be able to see the words from far away either as they would end up being too small.

This project took 14 years to complete with workers handing it onto the side of a mountain. While it is a good thing it is also surprising that no one died during this project. Workers did inhale a large amount of silica dust which led to lung disease. There was not one accident while the project was happening though.

When Mount Rushmore was being designed there was a plan for a secret room. This room would be called the Hall of Records. It would showcase American history. This wall is located behind Lincoln’s head. It contains scrolls containing some of the most important events in American history. The Foundation did become light and the secret room did not get completed. It is just a tunnel and there are no stairs. This room or tunnel is off-limit to visitors.

Mount Rushmore was to contain more than just the faces of the presidents. It was supposed to show the presidents from the waist up. The design has been changed nine times before the final model was selected. Due to tight funds, Congress thought that the faces were enough and doubted that the project would be completed.

Sometimes even presidents need to be moved. Thomas Jefferson was supposed to be to the left of George Washington. That area was full of quartz and was not good for carving. The crew tried to cave the quartz for 18 months. With all of this trouble and lack of progress, Jefferson was moved to the right of Washington.

The design team was thinking about people that would view Mount Rushmore decades in the future. They looked at the rate at which granite erodes and decided to make some changes in the design. George Washington had an extra foot added to his nose making it look longer. This was done to keep the nose from eroding.

Borglum was the designer of Mount Rushmore but he never got to see his project completed. He passed away just months before the carving was done. He was known as the Old Man by workers and was said to be difficult to work for. He worked hard to make sure this project was a success. He passed away from a blood clot at the age of 73. He died seven months before Mount Rushmore was finished. His son took over production and completed the project.
These are some little-known facts that Judge Napolitano has learned about Mount Rushmore. This natural treasure took a lot of hard work and dedication to complete. While it was not always easy this mountain was designed to symbolize democracy which it still does to this day.

Cover image:

  • Close-up of Apple on Top of Books.: Pexels/Creative Commons

Follow Us