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Mount Rushmore is a memorial rather than a monument. It was erected as a memorial to the birth, growth, preservation and development of the United States of America. It took fourteen years for Gutzon Borglum to have the sixty-foot busts of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln chiseled into the granite of the Black Hills of South Dakota. The memorial was built to represent the first 150 years of American history. Gutzon Borglum trained the local people to work as his laborers on this enormous task. Mount Rushmore is located on the western most parts of South Dakota three miles south of Keystone not that far from the Crazy Horse Memorial. This is also where the battle of Little Bighorn took place in 1876 – the famous fight between Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Within a year, the white gold miners took hold on the Black Hills with the Indians losing their sacred grounds. David Swanzey played a part in the naming of Mount Rushmore. Mr. Swanzey was married to Carrie Ingalls the younger sister of the famous author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

After a twenty-four million dollar fund-raising campaign, it took workers ten years of redevelopment to construct new visitor facilities to include a new Visitor Center, Museum and the Presidential Trail which is a handicap accessible walking trail and boardwalk providing visitors to obtain close-up views of the Mount Rushmore. Exhibits in the visitor’s center explain the events that lead up to the construction of Mount Rushmore and have the equipment that was used on display. For those who enjoy climbing, a northwest area that is bolted has routes along the granite. Please contact the park for more information regarding this or read the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Climber’s Guide by Vernon Phinney.

The monument is open to visitors year round closing one day a year, which is Christmas Day. The highest volume of visitors is in the months of July and August. In case you get hungry, there is a restaurant on the premises. There is also a gift shop if you wish to purchase souvenirs. Nearby is the Mount Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch Resort for those who would like to stay in the area for more than one day. The campground supplies free transportation in the evening to the lighting ceremonies of Mount Rushmore.

For those who wish to work at the monument there are twelve to sixteen week internships available throughout the year. Interns are paid a salary and some housing is available.

For visitor information you can either call or write to Mount Rushmore National Memorial at Post Office Box 268, Keystone, SD 57751.