Issue Date: June 6, 2008
City: McLean, VA
In 1923, historian Doane Robinson suggested the idea of sculpting a mountain to promote tourism in South Dakota. At the time of his first view of Mount Rushmore, sculptor Gutzon Borglum said, “America will march along that skyline.”
Congress approved the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission as of March 3, 1925. The Presidents memorialized on the mountain were selected to represent 150 years of American history. George Washington (“Father of our Country”), Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independence), Teddy Roosevelt (opened the waters between the East and the West with the Panama Canal), and Abraham Lincoln (preserved the Union in one of our nation’s darkest times and brought equality to all) were selected for their profound impact on the shaping of America.
Construction on the mountain began on October 4, 1927. Borglum and his team of 400 workers sculpted the 60-foot carvings, which peak at 5,725 feet above sea level. The sculptures were completed on October 31, 1941. Since then, a Presidential Trail, Visitor Center, and Museum have been added to the mountain.
Mount Rushmore, which attracts about two million people every year, was commemorated on a 2008 U.S. Priority Mail postage stamp.