I think we all can agree that carving something on stone would be tough, right? But imagine carving 60 feet long human faces into a mountain!
Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, U.S.A. is a massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore. It depicts the faces of four of the most influential presidents in US history, who had a significant contribution to the nation’s growth.
The construction of the magnificent sculpture took 14 years to finish. It was unveiled to the public in 1941.
Here are some lesser-known facts about the monument, rightfully considered among the most popular tourist attractions in U.S.A.
1. The Original Idea
Believe it or not, the sculpture was supposed to be even bigger than its present form! Four United States Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were chosen to represent the nation's birth, growth, development, and preservation, respectively.
The initial idea was to depict all the four presidents from head to waist. Unfortunately, this could not be implemented due to a shortage of funds.
2. The Location
Today, the image of Mount Rushmore has become synonymous with the iconic sculpture of the past presidents. But it was not the initial choice of location to make the sculpture. The original location was a place called Needles (a region of eroded rock pillars and spires), in California, U.S.A.
This idea was scrapped due to the low quality of the granite stones and the strong opposition from the native tribes of the region.
3. Thomas Jefferson’s Sculpture
Thomas Jefferson’s face sculpture occupies the second position among the four presidents, at George Washington’s left. However, according to the original plans, Thomas Jefferson’s sculpture was intended to appear on George Washington's right.
After the work had begun for the Jefferson structure, the rock was found to be unsuitable. Therefore, the figure was dynamited and rebuilt on the left side of the George Washington figure.
4. The Sculptor
The chief carver behind the grand sculpture at Mt. Rushmore was not a born American. Luigi del Bianco was an emigrant from ItalyHe was an artisan and headstone carver, chosen for the project due to his remarkable skill of etching emotions and personality in stone.
5. The Secret Chamber
There is a secret chamber inside the monument, known as the ‘Hidden Hall of Records’. The chamber holds a 1200-pound granite capstone, which is placed on top of a titanium vault.
The vault encloses a teakwood box, which contains sixteen porcelain enamel panels that have the texts of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights etched on them!
6. An Essay Competition
It was decided that the history of the nation should be inscribed on the monument, where visitors would be able to read it. So, the officials declared an essay-writing competition in colleges.
The 500-word essay written by a student named William Andrew Burkett was selected as the winner in 1934. The essay was inscribed on a bronze plaque and displayed with the monument.