Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota – A Historical Landmark

Mount Rushmore 1I found it very appropriate that I created this post the day before the 4th of July about a monument that pays homage to four great American Presidents, Mount Rushmore.  Here is a link to their website with more info. This has been a place I have wanted to see for a really long time. Thus I was extremely excited to finally get to see how amazing and grand it really is in person. Pictures and movies don’t do justice to their size and detail. You have to see it first hand to really appreciate its beauty, and what a monumental endeavor it was to create the monument.

Mount Rushmore 2The monumental monument was sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, and covers 1,278.45 acres and is 5,725 feet above sea level. However, South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. Construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents’ faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum’s death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941

Mount Rushmore 3Today almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world come to gaze upon what has grown in fame as a symbol of America – a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds. They feel that one of the most important gifts they can give their visitors at Mount Rushmore National Memorial is an understanding and love for our nation’s history and cultures and an appreciation of the importance of caring for that legacy.  It definitely shows everywhere you look, and they did a great job of honoring Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. We talked with some folks that were on holiday from Germany who wanted to come and see the monument. I thought it was great.

Mount Rushmore 4What was really cool was the Avenue of Flags in front of Mount Rushmore. Walk beneath the proud, waving colors of 56 U.S. states and territories on your way to the Grand View Terrace and Presidential Trail. It was fun to look at all the state flags and determine which ones we knew right away. Wish we had more time to read all the plaques, but there were a lot of them and not a lot of time, lol. But it was really nice to see that walking toward the monument. I was feeling very patriotic. 🙂

Mount Rushmore 5Just two more things I want to say about Mount Rushmore. The first was that they have a nightly lighting ceremony. We did go to see it lit up, but we never made it to the lighting ceremony (we wanted to see the laser show at the Crazy Horse Memorial and they were close to the same time).  However, I heard it wasn’t too great if you weren’t there early and got a good spot to see and hear. It’s just something to keep in mind if you plan on doing it someday. Secondly that it was interesting to think about the movies that were made there such as North by Northwest and National Treasure II. I could say so many more things, but I think I will end this with the words from the sculptor:

“The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” Gutzon Borglum

p.s.. You can also see some of his work on my Stone Mountain post.

Mount Rushmore Visitor Information

Mount Rushmore 2

Address:

13000 SD-244,
Keystone, SD 57751

Phone:

(605) 574-2523

Hours:

The parking structure and memorial grounds: 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Evening Lighting Ceremony: 9:00 p.m.
Sculpture Illumination: Sunset to 11:00 p.m.
Information Center Bookstore: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sculptor’s Studio: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Carvers’ Café: Closed until June 15, 2020
Gift Shop: 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Ice Cream Shop: 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Prices:

There is no entrance fee for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. However, fees are required to park at the memorial.

Parking Fees:

Cars, Motorcycles, and RVs $10 per vehicle
$5 for Seniors (62 and older)
Free for Active Duty Military
Commercial Tour Bus $50*
Verified, nonprofit Educational Bus $25*

A parking permit entitles a non-commercial vehicle to unlimited entry to the memorial for one year from the date of purchase.
Parking passes for buses are valid for 24 hours from the time of first entry.
Fees may be paid with cash or most credit cards.

Directions:

Plane

Rapid City Regional Airport is located 35 miles from Mount Rushmore National Memorial on South Dakota Highway 44.

Car

Visitors traveling by car on I-90 should exit at Rapid City and follow U.S.. Highway 16 southwest to Keystone and then South Dakota Highway 244 to Mount Rushmore. Visitors coming from the south should follow U. S. Highway 385 north to South Dakota Highway 244, which is the road leading to the memorial.

Public Transportation

Rental cars or private tour companies can bring visitors to the memorial from Rapid City, South Dakota. Personal vehicles are the most common form of transportation. No public transportation options are available.

Accessibility:

For Mobility Impairments (Wheelchairs)

Vehicles are able to unload mobility-impaired visitors in front of the main entryway and then park in the parking lot (fee area).

Amphitheater and Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center

Elevators are accessible from the Grand View Terrace to the museum lobby and Amphitheater.

Sculptor’s Studio

Depending on security issues, the Sculptor’s Studio is wheelchair accessible from the remote parking area. Check with the ranger in the Information Center.

Trails

The Presidential Trail is surfaced to accommodate wheelchairs from the Grand View Terrace to viewing areas at the base of the mountain.

Carvers’ Café and Gift Shop

The Carvers’ Café and the Gift Shop are wheelchair accessible.

Pets:

While many visitors enjoy traveling with their pets. because of the large numbers of people who visit each day, they have concerns for the comfort and safety of all visitors, pets and wildlife.

To balance these needs, pets on a leash (no longer than six feet) are permitted only in the parking garages and the areas adjacent to them. These areas are shaded orange on the park facilities map, and include:

  • the pet exercise areas located at each end of the upper level of the parking facility
  • at the entrance to the main visitor area, by the benches at the main pergola (the row of large columns at the walk-in entrance)

To help keep Mount Rushmore clean for those who visit after you, please pick up after your pet with bags that are provided in the pet exercise areas.

While kennel services are not available at Mount Rushmore, they are available in nearby communities.

Service dogs, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, are permitted to accompany visitors with disabilities in all areas open to the public at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

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