Mt. Rushmore Area Information

What's close to 100 years old, has four faces, and is 23 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota?

It's monumental, patriotic and took 14 years to sculpt. What is this magnificent sight for sore eyes? Mount Rushmore, the soon-to-be antique, 465-foot-tall faces carved on the granite mountain located 23 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota.


Whose idea was Mount Rushmore?

Gutzon Borglum chose this 5,725-foot mountain landscape for his magnificent patriotic tribute to four U.S. presidents who were selected for what each embodied as a person, hero and president.

The actual mountain was named after New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore who came in 1885 to investigate mining claims in the Black Hills. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum chose this site for its height, spaciousness, and quality of mountain granite. The entire country was overjoyed when work began on August 10, 1927 and President Calvin Coolidge dedicated it. Today Mount Rushmore is one of the most historic and well-visited landmarks in our country, and it generously offers free admission to all who come to view its majesty.


Which presidents were chosen to be on Mount Rushmore and why?

Visitors will recognize Thomas Jefferson's face. Jefferson was selected for his passion to make the United States a government for the people and by the people. George Washington's familiar mug shines down from above for his extraordinary leadership during our struggle for independence. Abraham Lincoln's ideas on equality and the permanent union of the states gained him his spot, and Theodore Roosevelt guided our country into significance during the 20th century role we played in world affairs. Interestingly, there are no plans to ever change, update or add to this fitting tribute to four of our country's greatest heroes. As Borglum proclaimed, it will only be Mother Nature who chisels her mark into the granite as it weathers the storms of life.


How much did it cost to build Mount Rushmore?

How much did Mount Rushmore cost? Back in 1927, Mount Rushmore's hefty price tag caused a delay in the completion of the project. Lack of funds was an issue. When all the bills were paid, the final bill rang up as $900,000. Interestingly enough, seven decades later, the country was able to fund a $56-million-dollar renovation to Mount Rushmore, which was completed in 1998.



  • Although the project was begun in 1927 and completed in 1941, just after the death of Gutzon Borglum, the actual sculpting of Mount Rushmore took only 6-1/2 years to complete. It seems the extra eight years where due to weather and funding restraints.
  • The majestic granite mountainside faces are 5,700 feet above sea level.

    The 1998 renovation encompassed many tourist-friendly additions to Mount Rushmore, including an amphitheater, museum/theater, the inspiring Presidential Trail, a Western gift shop where the kids can find a miniature replica, a bookstore chock full of history on the area and our country, dining facilities overlooking the mountain and much more.
  • The spacious and family-friendly Presidential View Resort is the closest hotel to Mount Rushmore where visitors can watch the evening illumination of the memorial from their very own rooms. It's located in historic downtown Keystone.

There are plenty of other hotels to stay in and things to do on your vacation to South Dakota!

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