How Long Did It Take To Build Mount Rushmore (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 14 years

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a large sculpture in the Black Hills of southern South Dakota. It’s about a quarter-drive hour’s southwest of Rapid City. Mount Rushmore pays patriotic homage to the four presidents of the United States with 60-foot-high faces carved into the mountain. In 1885, the mountain, which peaks at 5,725 feet, was named after New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore.

And over years, the monument has sparked discussions over whether another commander-in-chief deserves a seat on the mountain, as well as a Hollywood controversy over an Alfred Hitchcock film that was filmed there.

How Long Did It Take To Build Mount Rushmore

How Long Did It Take To Build Mount Rushmore?

When happenedWhen it happened
Prospecting journey started of Mount Rushmore1885
Construction started1927

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota took fourteen years to complete, with work wrapping up in 1941. The Lakota termed this granite rock Tunkasila Sakpe Paha, meaning Six Grandfathers Mountain before it became known as Mount Rushmore. For the Native inhabitants of the Great Plains, it was a place of prayer and devotion.

Doane Robinson, a South Dakota historian, came up with the concept of erecting a sculpture in the Black Hills in 1923. He was looking for a means to bring tourists to the state. Mount Rushmore, like the Statue of Liberty and the White House, has become one of the most iconic emblems of the United States.

Initially, local heroes will appear on Mount Rushmore instead of the President of the United States. South Dakota historians advocated sculpting Mount Rushmore into western figures in the early 1920s to attract tourists to the area. The project’s principal sculptor and architect, Gutzon Borglum, was then hired; however, he chose to include the presidents since the monument would be more of a national appeal.

Why Did It Take That Long To Build Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore took so long to create because of financial limitations, design concerns such as the difficulties that led workers to demolish an early effort at Jefferson’s face and start again, and Borglum’s death, whose work was completed by his son Lincoln in October 1941.

Mount Rushmore established its reputation as a must-see destination and a majestic icon of Americana as additional highways were developed and road-tripping became a national activity.

President Thomas Jefferson’s head was intended to be on President George Washington’s right. Workers eventually discovered that the stone on Washington’s right was too weak to support the sculpture, thus he was forced to be moved to the left.

In the sense that each of the presidents was supposed to have a carved body, Mount Rushmore is incomplete. Because Borglum died before the project was finished and the money ran out, only the heads of the presidents were carved.

Susan B. Anthony was a well-known campaigner for women’s voting rights and a key figure in the women’s rights movement. Her historical significance made her an ideal candidate for inclusion on Mount Rushmore. But it was too late; the monument’s construction had already begun.

The Lakota Sioux Native American tribe opposed digging into the sacred Black Hills during the construction of Mount Rushmore. They were particularly adamant about not displaying the faces of individuals who supported the massacre of Native Americans on the mountain.

450,000 tons of rocks were blown up with explosives. The majority of the rubble has been piled near the mountain’s base. Around 400 workers were involved in the potentially risky demolition job.

Borglum planned to construct a chamber below Lincoln’s head to house some of the country’s most vital papers. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would be housed in an 80-foot-high, 100-foot-long chamber. Borglum died in the middle of the project, and it was abandoned.

The total cost of the project was $989,992 when it was finished in 1941. In today’s money, that price tag would be almost $17 million if adjusted for inflation. In 1991, Mount Rushmore got a $40 million refurbishment.


“The Presidents Mountain,” as Mount Rushmore is called. Mount Rushmore is 5,725 feet above sea level. This memorial was built with the cooperation of around 400 people. This is a place where mountains meet plains and two distinct ecosystems collide, resulting in a mash-up of habitats and species. Hundreds of thousands of visitors visit South Dakota each year to view Mount Rushmore.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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