Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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Mount Rushmore Aerial

Mount Rushmore Aerial

Here’s a pop quiz. Name the U.S. presidents carved into the granite hillside of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

If the names didn’t come to you in five seconds, step on the gas and head to the memorial. Constructed from 1927-41, it features the faces of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Why did sculptor Gutzon Borglum choose these men? He felt they presided over the country during its most important moments.

The human effort required to create this monument matched the gargantuan size of it. More than 400 women and men worked a variety of jobs from drillers to housekeepers during the 14 years it took to build it. Ninety percent of the mountain was carved using dynamite, but it was the people hanging off steel cables and chiseling at the rock amid freezing cold and sweltering heat who made Mount Rushmore what it is today. Before they started work, workers had to climb 700 steps to the top of the mountain. Imagine the shape you’d be in if you had to do that to get to your desk. 

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