- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
colossal sculpture in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, U.S. It lies about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Rapid City. Huge representations of the heads of Presidents George Washington (Washington, George), Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Thomas), Theodore Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Theodore), and Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln, Abraham), each about 60 feet (18 metres) tall, are carved in granite on the southeast side of Mount Rushmore to symbolize the first 150 years of the United States. The four heads represent, respectively, the nation's independence, democratic process, leadership in world affairs, and equality. The memorial, which covers 2 square miles (5 square km), was first suggested by state historian Doane Robinson. It was designated a national memorial in 1925 and dedicated in 1927. Work began that year under American sculptor Gutzon Borglum (Borglum, Gutzon) and was finished in 1941, after six and a half years of actual carving by hundreds of workers using dynamite, jackhammers, chisels, and drills. Much of the 450,000 tons of rock removed in the process remains in a heap at the base of the memorial. The federal government paid most of the nearly $1 million cost. Renovations include the Avenue of Flags, where flags of the country's 56 states and territories flutter above a walkway leading to views from the Grand View Terrace and the Presidential Trail, and the Lincoln Borglum Museum, which has exhibits on the memorial's history. The Sculptor's Studio (1939) displays tools used in the carving and the scale model used to create the sculpture. The mountain itself is 5,725 feet (1,745 metres) high and was named for Charles E. Rushmore, a New York lawyer, in 1885. Mount Rushmore lies within Black Hills National Forest, just north of Custer State Park, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States.
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