Top

Stay in the loop!

Want to know when we share big things? Subscribe today & keep up-to-date with our posts.


How Mount Rushmore Became - Well, Mount Rushmore

Are you that person that loves to know and share the history about the places you visit? Or perhaps you frequently find yourself visiting places with someone like this (there is always one) and would like to beat them to the punch? Either way I bet you’ll learn something to share from this blog, because I’m about to dive into the history of one of the most iconic memorials in the world – Mount Rushmore.

MR with Goat.jpg

The story all begins in 1923, when a South Dakota historian named Doane Robinson envisioned creating an attraction so monumental it would draw people from all over the world to the Black Hills. He dreamt this attraction would feature the heroes of the Wild West by having them carved into the granite needles of the Black Hills. With this idea in his mind, he contacted sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who was carving Stone Mountain in Georgia. Borglum agreed to meet with Robinson, but he had one suggestion. Borglum wanted it to be bigger than Wild West heroes, he wanted something that held national significance, was relevant to this country, timeless, and a shrine to Democracy.

Borglum.jpg

Immediately after getting Borglum to agree to be a part of the project, Robinson and South Dakota’s Senator, Peter Norbeck, began to secure the federal funding needed. In order to secure these funds though they had to get creative. They invited U.S. President Calvin Coolidge to come to Custer State Park for a vacation, and to keep him in the state, they had workers stock the stream every night outside of where he was staying with thousands of trout. Surprisingly, it worked just the way they wanted! Because the president found the fishing so great he extended his stay for two months, giving them the time they needed to convince him to fund the carving soon to be known as Mount Rushmore. In August of 1927, President Calvin Coolidge officially dedicated the project, and the work began on Mount Rushmore.

MR Flags.jpg

Now – here are some fun facts about the process of carving the mountain for you to share. I guarantee you’ll look like the biggest history buff in the group:

  • The majority of the mountain was carved during the Great Depression by Black Hills miners and settlers.
  • The carvers had to climb 100 steps every morning to punch the time clock at the top of the mountain.
  • It took 14 years and 400 men using dynamite, jackhammers and hand tools to blast, chisel and carve these four 60-foot faces of American presidents in the mountain.
  • Gutzon Borglum died unexpectedly in 1941, leaving his son, Lincoln Borglum, to finish the final details of the memorial.
  • Due to WWII, federal funding was pulled from Mount Rushmore and it was declared complete on October 31, 1941, even though it did not match the original models made by Gutzon Borglum.

Meet the Author

Kelsy Koerlin

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her two dogs and fiancé. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, spending time with family, traveling, at a local ice cream shop or brewery, or perhaps home taking a nap.

latest blog posts

Kelsy Koerlin
Social Media and Content Manager

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her two dogs and fiancé. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, spending time with family, traveling, at a local ice cream shop or brewery, or perhaps home taking a nap.

View More

Latest Blog Post

  • Our Family Vacation To South Dakota
    September 21, 2018 - Liz Beatty
  • Latest Blog Post

  • How Mount Rushmore Became - Well, Mount Rushmore
    September 14, 2018 - Kelsy
  • Quick Tips - What To Know About These Parks and Monuments
    August 29, 2018 - Kelsy
  • How To Have A Dog-Gone Good Time Downtown
    August 24, 2018 - Kelsy
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Black Hills Powwow: A Kaleidoscope of Color
    September 5, 2018 - Kris Monroe
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The 7 Wonders In and Around Rapid City, SD
    July 30, 2018 - Allie Bast
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Wild Adventures Out West
    July 12, 2018 - Kevin Stinehart
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City Blog: Spearfish Canyon
    June 25, 2018 - Aiden Lynn-Klimenko & Madison Perrins
  • Rapid City Blog: Trail System
    November 14, 2016 - Aiden Lynn-Klimenko & Madison Perrins
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Wildlife Loop Road: A Wild Drive Through Custer State Park
    May 15, 2018 - Anne
  • 5 Reasons I Love Downtown Rapid City
    April 6, 2018 - Anne
  • 6 Pro Tips To Get You Through The Annual Buffalo Roundup
    March 1, 2018 - Anne
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Add Some Color to Your Life
    April 25, 2018 - Shiloh
  • A Cruise Through the Canyon
    February 13, 2018 - Shiloh
  • Forget 12 Days of Christmas
    December 19, 2017 - Shiloh
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Top Picks For Outdoor Adventure At Nine Parks & Monuments
    April 11, 2018 - Lisa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Mount Rushmore of Summer Vacations
    April 9, 2018 - Ginny
  • 8 Great Reasons to Love Spring in the Black Hills
    January 29, 2018 - Ginny
  • Four Ways Rapid City Lives Up To The Hype
    June 23, 2016 - Ginny
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Top 5 Trails Within 30 Minutes of Rapid City
    March 8, 2018 - Michaela
  • Rapid City from Michaela’s point of view.
    October 17, 2016 - Michaela
  • Mount Rushmore Questions You’ve Been Dying to Ask
    August 7, 2016 - Michaela
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Make Unbearably Perfect Memories at Bear Country USA
    March 2, 2018 - Jennifer
  • Top 5 Spring Break Ideas for Cool Moms
    January 5, 2018 - Jennifer
  • The Most Exciting Social Event Of The Summer
    May 25, 2017 - Jennifer
  • Latest Blog Post

  • IN HISTORY: Rapid City Founded, Feb. 24, 1876
    February 22, 2018 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • IN HISTORY: Black Hills Spruce Serves As White House Christmas Tree
    December 14, 2017 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • IN HISTORY: Billy Mills Wins 10K Olympic Race In Tokyo
    November 3, 2017 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Refresh Your Adventure At Rapid City Microbreweries
    January 16, 2018 - Stephen Sebestyen
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Big, Bold Flavors Where The Buffalo Roam
    December 8, 2017 - Danielle
  • An Oz Experience: Flying With The Oldest Balloon Company In The USA
    February 7, 2017 - Danielle
  • 3 Firehouse Brewing Co. Food Choices and Reasons for All of Them
    January 13, 2017 - Danielle
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Amazing Rush Season 2: Day One Adventures
    October 27, 2017 - Tyson
  • Amazing Rush Season 2: Day Two Adventures
    October 27, 2017 - Tyson
  • Amazing Rush Season 1: Day One Adventures
    October 26, 2017 - Tyson
  • Latest Blog Post

  • In The Spirit Of The Season: The Story Of Devils Tower National Monument
    October 10, 2017 - Amanda Hitchcock
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City's Wildside
    October 5, 2017 - Adrian Munoz
  • Latest Blog Post

  • How To Get The Most Out Of A Black Hills Adventure
    August 17, 2017 - Chris Brinlee Jr.
  • 10 Must-Do Adventures in Rapid City
    August 1, 2017 - Chris Brinlee Jr.
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City - Reptile Gardens, Bear Country USA, Watiki Water Park, Outdoor Campus West
    July 7, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Custer State Park Jeep Tour, Chuckwagon, Buffalo, Antelope!
    July 6, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Rapid City Day 3 - Mount Rushmore, Adventure Park, Cave Exploring!
    July 6, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Beginners Guide: Being A Tourist In Your Backyard
    June 2, 2017 - Tessa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The adventure of a lifetime in Rapid City
    March 20, 2017 - Ellen and Mike
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Basil, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Wine…Just A Few Of My Favs
    January 27, 2017 - Stacie
  • 1,200 Degrees of Taste Bud Paradise
    January 15, 2017 - Stacie
  • Latest Blog Post

  • A Black Hills Winter
    December 23, 2016 - Jesse
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Travelin with Tiff: Rush Mountain Adventure Park
    December 13, 2016 - Tiffany
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Downtown Trails and Recreation
    July 5, 2016 - Lisa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • 3 Mountain Bike Rides to Jump Start Your Black Hills Adventures
    May 20, 2016 - Craig
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Shredding in the Black Hills
    March 10, 2016 - Bill
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Downtown Shopping
    February 25, 2016 - Sarah
  • Rapid City Myth Busting
    February 8, 2016 - Sarah
  • My Favorite Parks and Monuments
    January 29, 2016 - Sarah