How it Was Built
It is not easy to carve a sculpture on the side of a hill, especially one of such great height. The feat required great skills, craftsmanship, and expertise. First, the mountain had to be cleared in order to start the sculpting work. Workers used dynamite and mines to clear off the huge rocks. Rock climbers and sculptors then used jack-hammers and chisels for the sculpting process. A staircase was made from the bottom up to the peak of the mountain, and ropes were hung along the sides for safety. Each of the workers and sculptors also used harnesses along with ropes. Although the project was dangerous, no lives were lost throughout the 14 year-long construction period.
About 800 million pounds of rocks were excavated for the sculpture. In order to make the faces more realistic the iris of the eyes were holed and a specially designed piece of granite was kept in the center for light reflection.
They started with the sculpting of George Washington’s head. Due to the poor economic condition of the country it took almost seven years for it to get completed. Thomas Jefferson’s head, which is on the right of George Washington, was originally on the left. When they had completed about half of the project, Borglum had to remove it because of the inferior quality of rock. The construction work for Thomas Jefferson’s head then again began on the right hand side.
It is said that Abraham Lincoln’s head was the most difficult due to its beard. However, it got completed on the rightmost region of the cliff. The last head to be sculpted was Theodore Roosevelt. It is the deepest sculpted head of the four, mainly because of the unavailability of the right kind of rock for starting the sculpting work.
Mount Rushmore is a tribute to four great presidents of the United States of America. It also stands as a master-piece of exclusive engineering skills and expertise. More than two million people visit Mount Rushmore every year for its sheer brilliance. The monument is a famous landmark not only for America but for the whole world.