s/y Nine of Cups
Mount Rushmore National  Memorial- South Dakota
June 2012
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More National Parks and Monuments?

American Odyssey - Part I?
(Las Vegas to Denver)

American Odyssey - Part II?
(Denver to Boston)

Roadside Americana?

Birds of North America?

Wildflowers of North America?
Originally intended to attract tourists, an idea was hatched in 1923 to carved giant statues into South Dakota's Black Hills. An unconventional sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, was carving
Stone Mountain in Georgia and when it was completed, he was enlisted to conceive, design and sculpt this new "attraction". Borglum's conception of Mt. Rushmore encompassed the
likenesses of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt and commemorated "the foundation, preservation and continental expansion of the United States."
Mt. Rushmore, 5,725' above sea level,
was named for New York lawyer,
Charles E. Rushmore. In 1885, while  
checking property titles in South Dakota
for an eastern mining company, he was
accompanied to headquarters by William
W. Challis, a prospector and guide. As
they neared the mountain, Rushmore
turned to Challis and asked its name.

Challis jestingly replied: "Never had any,
but it does now - we'll call the thing
Rushmore." The United States Board of
Geographic Names officially recognized
the name "Mount Rushmore" in June

And now you know...the rest of the
The son of Mormon Danish immigrants, Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) was born  in St. Charles, Idaho. Borglum studied art in Paris and had
many early successes including remodeling a torch for the Statue of Liberty, sculpting saints and apostles for the Cathedral of St. John in NYC,
and an oversized Lincoln bust for the US Capitol. Stone Mountain in Georgia was his first large-scale carving and Mt. Rushmore was his
crowning accomplishment, taking more than 14 years. He died before finishing the sculpture, but his son, Lincoln, supervised its completion.
Black and white photos "borrowed" from NPS archives. Center photos are the sculptor's models on display at Borglum's Studio.
The Visitor's Center was large and impressive with several rooms for exhibits and an auditorium for
a short, but well-done orientation film.
A large, open plaza provided an excellent view of the mountain as well as the amphitheater below. We noted that a large crowd had gathered
below and learned that it was swearing in ceremony for new citizens. It was Flag Day...a perfect day for becoming an American. We watched
raptly as 111 people from 38 countries became US citizens.  It was overwhelmingly beautiful. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was hard
not to stir the patriotic juices.
We enjoyed our day so much, we returned in the evening for the illumination of
mountain...another stirring ceremony. Today, it was all about being an American.
If any of the heads of Mt. Rushmore had a body, it would be nearly 500' tall.
Mt. Rushmore took 14 years of carving
at a cost of less than $1 million.