While the faces of the four presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore are all too familiar to us, we tend to forget or not know some of the facts and factoids surrounding the sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota.
Started by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial was later finished by the sculptor’s son, Lincoln Borglum. 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.
Here are some lesser-known facts and factoids about the sculpture:
1. 10,000 years: this is the estimated time it will take for Mount Rushmore to erode by just one inch (25 mm). The rock of the mountain is composed of smooth, fine-grained granite.
2. 400: between October 4, 1927, and October 31, 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the colossal 60 foot (18 m) carvings of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history.
3. 14 years: this is the time it took to complete the project. Lead sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, died 7 months before the project’s completion.
4. 506: the number of steps workers had to climb every day to the construction site.
5. 0: the number of deaths from beginning to the end of construction.
6. KKK: Gutzon Borglum, the lead sculptor, was an active member of the white supremacist organization, the Ku Klux Klan.
7. 2 million: the average number of tourists visiting Mount Rushmore annually. Mount Rushmore is South Dakota’s top tourist attraction.