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Incredibly Interesting Mount Rushmore Facts

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Any visitor to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is well aware that the site is home to hundreds of interesting facts. The site's rich history goes back far, and there are many things that still surprise visitors today. Here are some of the more surprising bits to tide you over until you can go on your own Mount Rushmore Tour.

The monument itself is four 60 foot sculptures of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. However, the original plan called for full rock sculptures from the heads down to the top of the waists! This original rendition can still be seen at the site in a scale model.

South Dakota's state quarter features not only Mount Rushmore, but a ring-necked pheasant and wheat.

The famous movie North by Northwest ends with features a chase scene atop Mount Rushmore. Park Service refused giving permission to the filmmakers to shoot the scene. Interestingly enough, Mount Rushmore is not a forested plateau, and could not have been used for a chase scene anyways.

Originally the sculpture was to be placed on smaller, granite pillars known as "Needles". However, the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, decided upon the current location since the Needles were too thin.

The structure was originally intended to only have George Washington, but after the commission was authorized by Congress in 1925, President Coolidge insisted that a Democrat and two Republicans be portrayed as well.

Many worry that Mount Rushmore must erode at an alarming rate, and require an extreme amount of maintenance. However, the actual rate of erosion is only 1 inch for every 10,000 years. Nobody is even paid to clean the monument.  The only time it has ever been cleaned is by a manufacturer of cleaning machines, who did it for free.

The Lakota tribe considers the Black Hills to be sacred, which is why many Native Americans still consider the monument controversial. This is also the reason why the Crazy Horse Memorial is being constructed without Federal assistance.

The mountain is named after a New York City Attorney, Charles E. Rushmore, who asked the mountain's name during a business trip in 1885. A miner responded with a smarmy remark that in 1930 would be officially recognized as its name.

For a carving of this size, the low number of injuries reported during its construction is unusual. More so, the fact that nobody died during the 14 years of construction due to accidents.

Travelers interested in resting nearby will find not only the Quality Inn and Hotel Alex Johnson nearby, but also the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn and Super 8 all within approximately 2 miles of the monument.

Mount Rushmore & Black Hills Tour
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us many interesting stories about each location we visited. The bus was comfortable and we had about 15 people in the group. The tour included all the entrance fees of the parks. I would recommend this tour for anyone visiting Mt. Rushmore.
Joseph Zucconi - Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Mount Rushmore & Black Hills Tour
The tour hit all the highlights at the parks as advertised. Unfortunately there were very few places enroute that the bus could pullover for pictures and overviews. Also maintenance was being done on the roadways which interrupted the normal route. Guide was wonderful and knowledgeable on the sights. The write-up in the pamphlet didn't explain that time was allotted for the train ride or goldmine tour and if you didn't do them there would be dead time to fill with shopping. We would have signed up for the train early on.
Kurt Mowrer - WARSAW, MO
Mount Rushmore Grand Legends Tour
Tour was the perfect way to spend an intense day in the area. We only had one day and we feel we were immersed in the South Dakota culture. Tour guide was polite and informative. I wasn't even all that interested in this visit but now I would return for more of the area. LOVED the tour.
Phyllis Higgins - Littleton, IL
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