"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, and Theodore Roosevelt." - Gutzon Borglum
The field documentation at Mount Rushmore, including geo-referenced laser scanning and photography, took place in May of 2010. Teams from CyArk, Historic Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art (CDDV), RESPEC, and Wyss Associates, Inc. all worked together with National Park Service staff for over two weeks to fully document the sculpture and park grounds. In order to laser scan the face of the mountain sculpture completely, a special tripod rig was designed by the team, engineered by Hermanson Egge Engineering, and manufactured locally in Rapid City. The NPS ropes team repelled down the face of the mountain sculpture with this tripod rig and the laser scanner to scan the details of the sculpture that could not otherwise have been captured.
As stewards of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the National Park Service strives to preserve the mountain sculpture and its surrounding natural environment.
Avenue of Flags
Grand Viewing Terrace
Hall of Records
Sculptor's Studio Interior
Located in front of the Mountain Sculpture, the Amphitheater hosts the ever popular Evening Lighting Ceremony throughout the summer months. The Amphitheater has multiple levels and seats 2,500 people.
The Avenue of Flags is a walkway leading from the Concession Building to the Grandview Terrace. The Avenue of Flags was initially established as part of the celebration of America’s Bicentennial at the request of a visitor. Flags are powerful symbols, which remind people of the strength that is found within our nation’s diversity, history and ideals. The 56 flags represent the 50 states, one district, three territories, and two commonwealths of the United States of America. The flags are arranged in alphabetical order beginning with the A’s on the walkway near the Concession Building and ending with the W’s near the Visitor Center/Museum.
The Borglum Terrace is the location of Borglum's first studio at Mount Rushmore. He chose this area because he considered it the best for viewing the sculpture. It now contains the original framework of his studio and includes two historic fireplaces as well as a bust of Gutzon Borglum made by his son Lincoln Borglum.
Located above the Amphitheater and Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, the Grand View Terrace provides a panoramic view of the four faces on the mountain.
Mount Rushmore, also known as the Shrine of Democracy, is a National Memorial depicting four of the most prominent presidents of the first 150 years of the United States - George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson. Mount Rushmore was carved into South Dakota’s Black Hills from 1927 to 1941 under the direction of sculptor Gutzon Borglum. The project took a team of 400 drillers and assistant carvers fourteen years to complete. Over 1.7 billion pounds of stone were removed using dynamite, detailed drilling, and finishing processes.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, held the nation together during its greatest trial, the Civil War. Lincoln believed his most sacred duty was the preservation of the union. It was his firm conviction that slavery must be abolished (1809-1865).
Lincoln's Boyhood Home
"I leave you hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal." - Abraham Lincoln
The Hall of Records Canyon is a deep walled canyon behind the Mountain Sculpture. While mostly unsculpted, its northwest wall houses the unfinished Hall of Records. The mountain and canyon are made of Harney Peak granite, an igneous rock, and mica schist, a metamorphic rock.
George Washington, first president of the United States, led the early colonists in the American Revolutionary War to win independence from Great Britain. He was the father of the new country and laid the foundation of American democracy. Because of his importance, Washington is the most prominent figure on the mountain (1732-1799).
"Believing that a representative government, responsible at short periods of election, is that which produces the greatest sum of happiness to mankind, I feel it a duty to do no act which shall essentially impair that principle." - George Washington
Located along the small canyon behind the Mountain Sculpture, the Hall of Records is an unfinished chamber which was intended by sculptor Gutzon Borglum to be a repository of the American Story. Construction of the hall took place between July 1938 and July 1939, when a 70-foot tunnel was blasted into the mountain. It remains very roughly cut, and tapers to a point at the back. Work halted in 1939 when Congress directed that construction should be executed only on the faces. With Borglum’s death in 1941 and American involvement in World War II, all work on the memorial came to a close on October 31, 1941.
This chamber was to hold the documents and artifacts most central to American democratic history. The proposed room was intended to be very large, up to 80 by 100 feet was to be drilled into the north wall of the canyon. Borglum’s scheme also called for an 800-foot granite stairway to reach the room. The steps would begin near his studio, rise gradually to meet the canyon mouth behind Lincoln’s head, and then lead to the entrance of the great hall.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, provided leadership when America experienced rapid economic growth as it entered the 20th Century. He was instrumental in negotiating the construction of the Panama Canal, linking the east and the west. He was known as the "trust buster" for his work to end large corporate monopolies and ensure the rights of the common working man (1858-1919).
Theodore Roosevelt's Birthplace
Theodore Roosevelt's Inauguration
Sagamore Hill - Theodore Roosevelt's Home
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
"The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight - that he shall not be a mere passenger." - Theodore Roosevelt
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, was the author of the Declaration of Independence, a document which inspires democracies around the world. He also purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 which doubled the size of our country, adding all or part of fifteen present-day states (1743-1826).
"We act not for ourselves but for the whole human race. The event of our experiment is to show whether man can be trusted with self - government." - Thomas Jefferson
As part of more recent facilities built to accommodate the growing number of visitors at the park, the entrance to the memorial features a large parking garage, paths and roads which provide access to the Visitor’s Area and the rest of the park.
The Presidential Trail is a half-mile walking trail that offers spectacular views of the mountain sculpture. It takes visitors up to the base of the sculpture and down to the Sculptor's Studio. In total, there are 425 stairs along the Presidential Trail.
Located southeast of the sculpture, the Sculptor’s Studio is the second studio built on the property. It was designed by architect CC Gideon, who also designed the famed pigtail bridges of the Iron Mountain Road. The Sculptor’s Studio was completed by 1939 and became Gutzon Borglum’s last studio. Today, it houses the original scale model of the sculptor's design.
The Sculptor’s Studio was Gutzon Borglum’s second studio built on the property. As a museum, it now holds Borglum's original model of the faces, a mask of President Lincoln, and the model of the Hall of Records.
The Visitor's Area is the location of visitor facilities like the Information Center, gift shop, restrooms and food services.