Mount Rushmore | A Favorite Black Hills Attraction


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Just a couple of miles up the road from the Powder House Lodge and Restaurant rests one of our nation’s most prominent monuments and premier Black Hills attractions, Mount Rushmore. Hailed as the Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore National Monument stands above the surrounding plains as a symbol of the birth, growth, development, and preservation of our country.

The History

Mount Rushmore evolved from the vision of a local state historian by the name of Doane Robinson. As a way to potentially increase tourism to the area, Mr. Robinson had the idea to sculpt historic heroes and leaders of the great west from the granite formations in the Black Hills. Mr. Robinson’s research led him to contact American sculptor Gutzon Borglum who agreed to come out to the Black Hills to discuss the project further.  After making two trips to research the area, Borglum selected a granite face that was unofficially known as Rushmore Peak (named after New York attorney Charles E. Rushmore) that would serve as the site for this sculpture in 1925.

Work on Mount Rushmore officially commenced in 1927 and took 14 years to reach completion. Borglum used intricate models and a method of measurement known as the pointing system in order to make precise blasts with dynamite to carve the basic structure.  Finer details and facial features were completed by workers with pneumatic hammers hanging off of the side of the rock with strong cables attached to special chairs. Over the course of the 14 years that the project took to complete, more than 400 workers removed approximately 450,000 tons of granite and rock from Mount Rushmore.

Between the years 1930 and 1939 the completed faces of the four presidents were dedicated one-by-one.  George Washington was the first to be dedicated in 1930, chosen for being the first president and representing the birth of America.  Thomas Jefferson was dedicated in 1936, symbolizing the expansion of our country with the Louisiana Purchase.  Abraham Lincoln was dedicated in 1937, representing his efforts in the preservation of the United States during the Civil War.  In 1939, Theodore Roosevelt was the last to be dedicated, representing the development of the country by supporting the construction of the Panama Canal.

While the original plans called for each president to be sculpted from head to waist, the passing of Gutzon Borglum in 1941 and a lack of funding forced work to come to stop in October of 1941.

More than just a Monument

If you are planning a trip through the Black Hills this year, Mount Rushmore Memorial is a must-stop Black Hills attraction, just be sure to plan enough time into your trip to enjoy all that Mount Rushmore Memorial has to offer!

In addition to the awe-inspiring views that surround the monument, be sure to plan a visit to the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center and the Sculptor’s Studio for an in-depth look and better understanding of the creation of and history behind Mount Rushmore.

If you are interested in getting an up close and personal look at the Shrine of Democracy, the Presidential Trail offers a half-mile trek that is accessible to all ages and abilities. Enjoy the spectacular views along this scenic trail and learn interesting facts about each of the presidents along the way.

After you have spent the day exploring all that Mount Rushmore has to offer, plan on checking in to the Powder House Lodge & Restaurant to relax and refuel your senses. While staying at the Powder House Lodge you will appreciate our central location to all of the great attractions the Black Hills have to offer, in addition to Mount Rushmore, which is only 4 miles away. Our Black Hills cabins are open from mid-May to mid-October and we offer a variety of lodging options with amenities such as a heated outdoor pool, a playground, and a great restaurant right on site, to make your Black Hills vacation more enjoyable.

Mount Rushmore | Black Hills Vacation


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