Mount Rushmore Marvels

Looking for a beautiful part of the country to travel to?? Keystone, South Dakota is your place to go complete with a visit to Mount Rushmore!!

We drove to South Dakota from the Midwest which was a 14 hour trip. We made our way to South Dakota through the Badlands and stopped in Wall, South Dakota. We stopped there on the advice of my parents to see the popular Wall Drugstore. Sounds weird? It was!! If Wall Drugstore was anywhere else, we would probably have passed it by.

We stopped to see it and take a break from driving. We took in the following sites (pictured below) and then got back into the car to continue the journey. The worse kind of sound you can hear is the sound of a dead battery!! 😕 The local automotive garage was able to change out the battery by the next day so we were able to continue our journey. Best mechanic ever!!!

The next morning we continued our journey to Keystone, South Dakota. Approaching the landmark puts you in awe of the undertaking of the stone carving in the Black Hills. The landmark is free to the public, however, there is a charge for parking.

Approaching Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore

“The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt.”

Gutzon Borglum

Who was supposed to be on Mount Rushmore??

We are used to seeing Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore. Was it suppose to be that way?? Not at all!! A man by the name of Doane Robinson who was a South Dakota historian had the idea of Mount Rushmore. His plan was that a carved mountain would increase tourism in South Dakota. Robinson originally planned for Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, Sacagawea, John C. Fremont, and Crazy Horse to be on Mount Rushmore. However, that was ultimately rejected by Borglum, sculptor.

Borglum wanted four presidents that coincided with the greatest events up to that point. George Washington was selected to be the first and most important carving which represents the birth of the United States. The second carving was Thomas Jefferson who represented the growth of the country. By approving the Louisiana Purchase, he doubled the size of the country.

Abraham Lincoln was chosen for preservation of the country navigating the country through the Civil War. The final president chosen was Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt offered leadership through the rapid economic growth of the country. He also is credited with joining the East and the West by negotiating the Panama Canal deal.

What do you think? Who would you put on Mount Rushmore? Drop your answer in the comments.

Avenue of Flags

In celebration of the Bicentennial, the Avenue of Flags was added to the walkway leading up to Mount Rushmore. There are 56 flags arranged in alphabetical order. They were installed at the suggestion of a visitor. In addition to the states flags, the following flags are included:

  • District of Columbia
  • Territory of Guam
  • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  • Territory of American Samoa
  • Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Why is Lincoln on the side?

Do you ever wonder why Abraham Lincoln’s carving is to the side of the other three presidents and out of chronological order?? Borglum was originally going to carve an ‘entablature’ which is a brief history of the United States in the shape of the Louisiana Purchase Territory. The entablature was planned to be where Lincoln’s carving is today.

Unfortunately, the rock was found to be unstable to Washington’s right so Thomas Jefferson had to be moved from Washington’s right to Washington’s left. Abraham Lincoln was moved to the side and the entablature had to be scrapped. How different that would have looked!!

Entablature Plan

Things To Do

  • Walk the Presidential Trail
    • Hike to see changing views of Mount Rushmore (25-40 minutes).
  • Visit Sculptor’s Studio
    • View exhibits about the sculptor, his scale model, and carving process. (15-30 minutes).
  • Visit Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center
    • View exhibit about carving methods (30-60 minutes).

Mount Rushmore is a great landmark set in a beautiful part of the country!! It is well worth the trip!! You will enjoy the drive through the Badlands and you might even want to stop at Wall, South Dakota

Next Landmark: Pearl Harbor

18 thoughts on “Mount Rushmore Marvels

      1. Wow! What an interesting blog post!
        And the fact about Lincoln being on the side is mind-blowing! Thanks for sharing!

  1. I have never been to South Dakota but enjoyed learning about the many things I can do there. Thanks for the detailed post.

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