Standing at 1,745 meters above sea level, the sculpture – technically not a structure in the traditional sense, but certainly a marvel of engineering – cost US $989,992.32 to complete.
Former Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are the faced carved into Mount Rushmore’s side, a feat constructed by over 400 men and women during which not one life was lost.
The original purpose of the Memorial was to promote tourism to region.
The site of the Memorial was selected due to its facing south east – where it could take advantage of maximum exposure to the sun, thus increasing the number of hours each day that workers could perform their duties – as well as the high quality of the local granite and the overall natural beauty of the surrounding area.
The original design of Mount Rushmore called for each of the four figures to be carved down to the waist; however, insufficient funding prevented this vision from being realized.
Due to the dynamiting of the original mountain to make a ‘blank canvas’ for the workers to sculpt, more than 800 million pounds of stone was removed from the original site.
Thomas Jefferson was originally carved to the right side of George Washington, but 18 months later those overseeing the project agreed that this placement wasn’t working, and the original sculpture of Jefferson was removed with dynamite and then re-carved in its current location.
Each of the carved heads is as high as a six story building, with eyes 11 feet across and noses 20 feet long.
The Hall of Records, a cave located just behind the Memorial, contains a vault that houses the text of the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, biographies of those carved into the mountain’s face and the original architect, as well as a record of the country’s history.