Scenic USA - South Dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial - Keystone, South Dakota

Photo by Roger Gillette
Inset photos courtesy of the NPS

     Presidents' Day, Washington Profile - Mount Rushmore National Memorialhonoring the most famous presidents United States on the 3rd Monday in February, was never implemented by the U.S. Government. This unofficial holiday was established by aggressive advertisers, shifting emphasis from the actual birthdays to a three day weekend with plenty of department store sales. Most Americans believe that the day was established by law, and combined the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln.
     John Gutzon de la Borglum proposed a much grander plan to celebrate his favorite presidents. And when Doane Robinson had read about Borglum's Stone Mountain carving, he invited John Borglum to South Dakota. The Avenue of Flags - Mount Rushmore National Memorial Borglum may have realized that Stone Mountain would only achieve regional success, so he offered an idea of national interest ... the U.S. Presidents. Borglum first suggested carvings of Washington and Lincoln for the Black Hills site. Borglum also suggested that friend and conservationist President Theodore Roosevelt to be added as well, considered a hero of the Spanish-American War, builder of the Panama Canal and naturalist. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, was added, rounding out the theme of Manifest Destiny.
     Borglum, with a grand vision Hall of Records (Closed to the Public) - Mount Rushmore National Memorial for the mountain also created a plan for what he called the Hall of Records. It would be a repository for our nation's charter documents. Although Borglum died in 1941, the idea would live on. Located behind the heads, the Hall of Records contains 16 porcelain panels with the text from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the story of the Presidents and a Borglum biography, all sealed in a teakwood box and placed in a titanium vault.
     Although the presidential stone carvings at Mount Rushmore are familiar to most of the world, for those having never visited the national monument, the Avenue of Flags leads from the entrance to Grandview Terrace. This decorative corridor greets all the monument visitors with a line of 56 flags, including all the American states and territories. Don't miss the Presidential Trail, a half-mile walk that offers spectacular views of America's most famous presidents.

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