Mount Rushmore by the Numbers

atkins-bookshelf-triviaEach year, more than millions visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. For many it is a stop in the quintessential RV tour of America. The massive sculpture was begun in October 1933 and completed in October 1941. Few tourists, however, know that Doane Robinson, who conceived of the idea, originally wanted famous western heroes (Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody) carved into the granite face of the mountain as a way to promote tourism. Borglum persuaded Robinson to support a more national focus. Originally the presidents were going to be carved from waist to head, and the order of the presidents was (from left to right) Jefferson, Washington, Roosevelt, and Lincoln, honoring America’s first 130 years. Due to budget constraints, only the heads were carved. In 1937, a plan to add the face of Susan B. Anthony did not get sufficient support. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln, began working on Jefferson’s face at the far left of the Mount Rushmore; however it was discovered that the granite was too weak. Consequently, Borglum abandoned Jefferson’s face by blasting if off with dynamite and carving it to the right of Washington, changing the order of the faces as it is seen today: Washingon, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.

Below is a presentation of Mount Rushmore by the numbers:
Years to sculpt: 14 years (actual carving took 6.5 years; the rest of the time was waiting for good weather and funding)
Number of workers: 400 (many of them miners)
Number of casualties during creation of sculpture: 0
Daily wage for workers: $8
Cost of the sculpture: $989,992 (about $18.5 million in 2017 dollars)
Size of faces: 70 feet tall
Size of eyes: 11 feet wide
Number of annual visitors: 3 million
Cost of renovation in 1998: $56 million

Read related post: Gettysburg by the Numbers

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