Went to Mount Rushmore today. The first sight is an OMG moment. We took a ranger tour and learned a lot of history. They have remodeled since the movie by the way (North by Northwest) but they have pictures of what it looked like before they remodeled. Car licenses in the parking lot from about every state.
Some facts: Each face is 60 feet tall (about 5 stories?). The noses are 20 feet long(except Washington's which is 21 feet. Each eye is 11 feet long. Washington's mouth is 18 feet wide. 400 people worked on the mountain, they lived in Keystone and had to walk up the mountain (really long walk up a really steep mountain), and then walk up 600 steps to the top of the mountain. They couldn't clock in till they reached the top. They were paid 25 to 50 cents an hour. Of course they started the carving in 1927 and ended in 1941. The sculpture was Gutzon Borglum and he estimated it would take 3 years. He also estimated the cost at $30,000 and it cost almost a million. It is made out of granite and most of the work (90%) was done with dynamite-really precise dynamiting. the rest were with jackhammers. They used LOTS of geometry to transfer the work from the model to the mountain. (Do I sense a lesson plan in here?)
There is a small canyon behind the Faces and there is a "hall of records" where a teak box was put that contains a copy (on porcelain) of the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, biographies about each of the 4 presidents, and info about how and why Mt Rushmore was carved. Erosion of the mountain is 1/8 of an inch each 10,000 years-so maybe some archaeologist ages from now will unearth this and learn about us.
We figured we'd be an hour or so there but the park and then a Borglum museum in town took most of the day. By the way-sights from the top of the mountain are great, but no one is looking down the mountain. The top of Washington's head in 6000 feet above sea level.