Souvenir from United States, South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Situated in South Dakota, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial aims to commemorate United States’ first 150 years of history with its astonishing granite carvings of four famous United States Presidents. It is more than a rock masterpiece as it embodies a rich heritage past with its cornerstone symbols, a breathtaking combination of history and art beautifully captured on the resin fridge magnet souvenir available now. The Monument sculpture comprises the carvings of four 18-meter tall heads of famous US presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Based on historian Doane Robinson’s idea of carving legendary faces into mountain rock to boast local tourism, the project was commissioned to sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln and it was Borglum’s decision to add a strong national symbolism to the work.
Lakota Sioux, Four Presidents and Six Grandfathers
The construction started in 1927 and all president faces were finished between 1934 and 1939. Following the death of Borglum and insufficient federal funds, the project ended in October 1941 when the initial idea of carving the national heroes from head to waist was finally abandoned. In 1933, the responsibility of the Monument’s administration was passed on to the US National Park Service. The history of Mount Rushmore is uniquely representative for the Native American role in shaping the US modern history. The venue was initially known to the Native American Lakota Sioux as Six Grandfathers but it changed its name after Charles Rushmore’s expedition in 1885. The Mountain was included in a spiritual route which one of the Lakota leaders took prior to the US army brutal campaign between 1876 and 1878 to control the land. The legitimization of this violent history part is still an ongoing debate and the approval of the sculpture project was the result of a long negotiation involving Congress and Presidency.
Up to Mount Rushmore through the Avenue of Flags
The Memorial proved to be a smashing tourist success as one of the top attractions in the United States. Its infrastructure and services are constantly improving to cope up with the three million visitors every year. In the 1990s, the Grand View Terrace and amphitheatre completed the 1970s Avenue of Flags (representing the 56 US states and territories) whereas the Presidential Trail provides the best views of the sculpture. The Lincoln Borglum Museum details the memorial’s long history and the Sculptor’s Studio is the oldest facility to display the tools used in the making of the sculptures. The cave behind the carvings intended to be the ‘Hall of Records’ (with background stories of the Memorial) was never completed due to underfunding.
The Tribe’s ‘Mount Crazy Horse’
It took a huge effort of dynamite blasting, 400 workers and the National Park Service support to complete the Memorial. It was also the sculptor’s idea to create a huge panel for commemorating the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and territorial purchase from Alaska to the Panama Canal Zone but his project was never approved. Mount Rushmore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and a student US history essay by William Andrew Burkett was placed on a special plate in 1973. Members of the American Indian Movement occupied the monument in 1971 and called it ‘Mount Crazy Horse’ in protest of the US seizing of the land from the Lakota tribe at the end of the 19th century. As a reaction to Mount Rushmore and its dominant White American focus, the Crazy Horse Memorial is constructed nearby.