Carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota are the iconic faces of four former presidents of the United States--George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. These men were chosen to represent the first 150 years of American history and America’s cultural heritage.
The idea came from Doane Robinson to promote tourism in South Dakota and his idea was wildly successful--the park attracts almost 3 million park visitors every year. Gutzon Borglum designed the sculpture. Though he passed away before its completion, over 400 workers helped bring his vision to life.
Today visitors come to appreciate this colossal man-made creation, learn about the design and construction process, appreciate its significance as a symbol of the American history of “monumental” leaders, and to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Black Hills region.
If You Go
Not everyone was pleased with the decision to carve four American presidents on a mountain that held spiritual significance for the Lakota tribe. In response, a memorial to Crazy Horse is being carved in the Black Hills 17 miles away from Mount Rushmore. Once completed the Crazy Horse Memorial will be the largest outdoor sculpture in the world. Visitors who get an early start can see both of these incredible sculptures in one day.