Here is an update from the National Parks website in case you are thinking about visiting this year or next year. Due to the opportunity to address deferred maintenance projects, the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, amphitheater, Avenue of Flags and a short section of the Presidential Trail are not available for the rest of 2019 and early 2020.
The area is very beautiful and I had Linda, Tim and Garrett sit in front of this huge rock so I could take their picture!!
The presidents were chosen for their significant contribution to the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the country. George Washington was chosen because he was our nation’s founding father. Thomas Jefferson was chosen to represent expansion, because he was the president who signed the Louisiana Purchase and authored the Declaration of Independence. Theodore Roosevelt was chosen because he represented conservation and the industrial blossoming of the nation and Abraham Lincoln was chosen because he led the country through the Civil War and believed in preserving the nation at any cost. The carving of Mount Rushmore began in 1927 and finished in 1941. The actual carving was done by a team of over 400 men. Remarkably, no one died during construction. 90% of the mountain was carved with dynamite, and more than 450,000 tons of rock was removed. The drillers and finishers were lowered down the 500-foot face of the mountain in bosun chairs held by 3/8-inch-thick steel cables. Workers at the top of the mountain would hand crank a winch to raise and lower the drillers. If they went too fast, the person in the bosun chair would be dragged up the mountain on their face. Each president’s face is 60 feet high. In 1938, Gutzon Borglum secretly began blasting a Hall of Records in the mountain behind the heads. The Hall of Records was meant to be a vault containing the history of the nation and vital documents like the Constitution. Congress found out about the project and demanded Borglum use the federal funding for the faces, not the Hall of Records. Gutzon reluctantly stopped working on the hall in 1939, but vowed to complete it. Funding ran out and the monument was declared complete on October 31, 1941. Overall, the project cost $989,992.32 and took 14 years to finish. In 1998, Borglum’s vision for the Hall of Records was realized when porcelain tablets containing images and text from the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and biographies of the presidents and Borglum himself were sealed in a vault inside the unfinished Hall. The Grand View Terrace is at the end of the Avenue of Flags; it has flags from all 50 states, one district, three territories, and two commonwealths of the United States of America.
On our way out we stopped by this lake to take pictures. It was really beautiful and there were people out there kayaking on it.