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Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. It was made to celebrate the 150 years of American history.
Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (in order from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln . The entire memorial covers 5.17 km 2 and is 1,745 m above sea level.
The Six Grandfathers (the Sioux name of the sculpture) were sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, from the 1927 to 1941. 400 men worked there.
The mountain is named by Charles E. Rushmore who donated 5000$ for making the sculpture. The original names of the mountain are Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, and Keystone Cliffs.
Historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea for Mount Rushmore in 1923 to promote tourism in South Dakota. In 1924, Robinson persuaded the sculptor Gutzon Borglum to travel to the Black Hills region to ensure that the carving could be accomplished.
The original plan was to perform the carving in granite pillars known as the Needles, but they were too thin to support sculpting.
At first Thomas Jefferson was sculpted on the Washington ’ s right, but then the rocks were found to be unsuitable, so the face was dynamited and another face was made on the Washington ’ s left.
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the USA and author of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson wanted the Thirteen Colonies (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia) to be free from Great Britain.
Mount Rushmore is controversial among Native Americans because the United States seized the area from the Lakota tribe after the Great Sioux War of 1876.
Members of the American Indian Movement led an occupation of the monument in 1971, naming it "Mount Crazy Horse". Among the participants were young activists, grandparents, children and Lakota holy man John Fire Lame Deer, who planted a prayer staff atop the mountain. Lame Deer said the staff formed a symbolic shroud over the presidents' faces "which shall remain dirty until the treaties concerning the Black Hills are fulfilled. “
The Crazy Horse Memorial is being constructed elsewhere in the Black Hills to commemorate the famous Native American leader and as a response to Mount Rushmore. It is intended to be larger than Mount Rushmore, it has the support of Lakota chiefs and has rejected offers of federal funds.
Mount Rushmore is surrounded by a rich fauna and flora and the mountain is largely composed of granite.
Borglum selected Mount Rushmore as the site for several reasons. The rock of the mountain is composed of smooth, fine-grained granite. The durable granite erodes only 1 inch (25 mm) every 10,000 years, indicating that it was sturdy enough to support sculpting. In addition, it was the tallest mountain in the region, looming to a height of 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level. Because the mountain faces the southeast, the workers also had the advantage of sunlight for most of the day.
Tourism is South Dakota's second-largest industry, and Mount Rushmore is its top tourist attraction. In 2004, over two million visitors traveled to the memorial. The site is also home to the final concerts of Rushmore Music Camp and attracts many visitors over the week of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Due to its fame as a monument, Mount Rushmore is frequently discussed or depicted in media, film and popular culture. The memorial was iconically used as the location of the climactic chase scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 movie North by Northwest. The scene was not actually filmed at the monument, since permission to shoot an attempted killing on the face of a national monument was refused by the National Park Service. The film inaccurately depicts a forested plateau and the house of the villain atop the monument.
Mt. Rushmore was also featured in National Treasure: Book of Secrets. In the movie, the monument was constructed to hide the City of Gold.