Our Great American Road Trip of 2010 started with us flying into Rapid City, SD on Monday, Aug 23rd. We picked up the rental car and headed to Mount Rushmore. It was a wonderful sunny day with mild temps. Before we arrived we could see the presidents off in the distance.
WHY THESE FOUR PRESIDENTS?
George Washington, (1st president) led the early colonists in the American Revolutionary War to win independence from Great Britain. He was the father of the new country and laid the foundation of American democracy. Because of his importance, Washington is the most prominent figure on the mountain.
Thomas Jefferson, (3rd president) he was the author of the Declaration of Independence, a document which inspires democracies around the world. He also purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 which doubled the size of our country, adding all or part of fifteen present-day states.
Theodore Roosevelt, (26th president) provided leadership when America experienced rapid economic growth as it entered the 20th Century. He was instrumental in negotiating the construction of the Panama Canal, linking the east and the west. He was known as the “trust buster” for his work to end large corporate monopolies and ensure the rights of the common working man.
Abraham Lincoln, (16th president) held the nation together during its greatest trial, the Civil War. Lincoln believed his most sacred duty was the preservation of the union. It was his firm conviction that slavery must be abolished.
October 4, 1927 – October 31, 1941 Building Mount Rushmore involved the efforts of nearly 400 men and women. The workers earned $8.00 a day, which seems like a lot to me for that time. They endured conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitter cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500 foot face of the mountain in a “bosun chair”.Â 90% of the mountain was carved using dynamite . The powder men would cut and set charges of dynamite of specific sizes to remove precise amounts of rock. During the 14 years of construction not one fatality occurred.
This is the amphitheatre at the base of Mount Rushmore.
I was amazed at the detail of the eyes. Of course, if you think about it no telling how big that eye is!
After we left the park we were wondering down the road to the Crazy Horse monument and found ourselves looking at Washington’s profile.