In the Black Hills of South Dakota, sits the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. I have not seen anything like it anywhere else. On granite rock, is a huge sculpture of the faces of four U.S. Presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln); the sculpture has captured their likeness so that most would find them easily recognizable.
It all started in the 1920s when the State Historian had the idea to carve a huge monument somewhere in the Black Hills to increase State tourism. When the sculptor Gotzon Borglum was hired, he was set on a national tribute and his vision prevailed. He started work on the project at the age of 60. It took 14 years to build and involved blasting 400,000 tons of rock. With the intervening Great Depression, the construction took 14 years (1927-1941), cost almost one million dollars and outlived Mr. Borglum by a few months.
You can walk around the Mt. Rushmore Memorial, stand and admire it, and sit and admire it. None of this feels repetitive. This sculpture on Mount Rushmore is 60 feet (18 meters) high. Each of the President’s heads is the height of a six-story building, with eyes measuring 11 feet across, noses measuring 20 feet long, and their mouths measuring 18 feet wide. The heads are scaled to men who would stand 465 feet tall!
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial also has a wooded trail that lends itself to contemplation, a welcome adjunct after taking in such huge proportions.
“It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”—George Washington
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”—Thomas Jefferson
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”—Abraham Lincoln
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” —Theodore Roosevelt
Buy it. Read it. Let me know what you think. –TMLL