Celebrated on the third Monday of February in the U.S., Presidents Day is one of the most important holidays of the year. This date is also the birthday of George Washington, first U.S. president, a legend in the American culture. Where do people often celebrate this day? The answer is Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, US. People arrive from all over the world to celebrate Presidents Day at the foothill of this great piece of construction. Why this monument is so famous? How it was built? Continue reading to know more about this favorite Presidents Day destination.
The sculptor and designer of this monument Gutzon Borglum, decided to carve the faces of four United States presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. Using dynamite, jackhammers and chisels, the sculpting process started with George Washington’s head. Dynamite was used until only three to six inches of rock was left to remove, then they used a method called honeycombing. Honeycombing is a process where worker drill holes into the granite surface, weakening it, so it could be removed by hand until the final surface was reached. The final process, known as bumping, used a pneumatic drill and a special bit to leave the finished surface as smooth as a concrete sidewalk. The granite composition of the area was very favorable to this construction, and the irises of the eyes were sculpted as holes, leaving a cube of granite in each one, representing the eye and giving a more realistic appearance.
The only access to the top of the mountain was a small stairway, where construction workers climbed every day to have access to their job. Construction workers were supported by harnesses attached to ropes. No fatalities were recorded during the project duration, which took fourteen years to complete, but work was done for only about six in those years.
Facts of Mount Rushmore
- The geological composition of Mt Rushmore consists of fine granite, igneous rock and mica schist.
- The president’s faces rise over 5,000 feet above sea level.
- The estimated erosion rate is one inch every 10,000 years.
- If presidents were carved completely they would stand 465 feet tall.
- Each president’s head can be compared to a six-story building.
- More than 800 million pounds of stone was removed during construction.
- Accessing the top of the mountain for construction workers was through a ladder, climbing more than 500 steps to get to the construction site.
- The president’s faces dimensions are: Noses-20 feet long, Mouths- 18 feet wide and Eyes-11 feet across.