The national memorial of the Mount Rushmore (in English Mount Rushmore National Memorial ), located close to the town of Rapid City in the American State of the South Dakota, is a monumental sculpture in Granite localized inside the presidential memorial of the the United States which recalls 150 years of the history of the country. The sculptures, high, 18 meters account for four of the most outstanding presidents of the American history. It is from left to right about George Washington (1732-1799), of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). The memorial covers a surface of 5.17 km ² and is located at 1745 meters of altitude. It is managed by the National Park Service which depends on the Département of the Interior of the United States and attracts more than two million visitors each year.
HistoryNamed Six grandfathers by the Amerindians Lakota (Sioux), the mountain was renamed according to Charles E. Rushmore, a large lawyer of New York which noticed it during a forwarding in 1885. Place crowned for the Amerindians, the Rushmore Mount formed integral part of the road that the Indian chief lakota Black Elk borrowed at the time of a spiritual voyage which led it to the top of the peak Harney Peak near the mount.
After a whole series of battles whose that of Little Big Horn against the Amerindians of 1876 with 1877, the United States, attracted by the richnesses of the west, conquered the territory which belonged to the Amerindians since the signature in 1868 of the Traité of Strong Laramie (see Controverse low).
For the white colonists, the peak had several different names like Cougar Mountain , Sugarloaf Mountain , Slaughterhouse Mountain , or even Keystone Cliffs . The hill was named Mont Rushmore during the forwarding of exploration carried out by Rushmore, David Swanzey (husband of Carrie Ingalls which was the sister of the author Laura Ingalls Wilder), and Bill Challis.
The historian Doane Robinson evoked for the first time the idea of the Rushmore Mount in 1923 to promote the local Tourisme. At the beginning, the project of sculpture of the Mount was launched to attract the visitors in the area of the Black Hills with the South Dakota. In 1924, Robinson persuaded the sculptor Gutzon Borglum to visit the mountain to make sure of the feasibility of the realization. Borglum had already carried out at this time enormous a Bas-relief for a memorial celebrating the leaders of the states confederated on the mountain Stone Mountain in Georgia. The original plan envisaged to carve the granitic rock of the hill Needles in Black Hills. Borglum realized however that the rock eroded of this hill was not appropriate because it was too friable to support the sculpture and its details. It then chooses the Rushmore Mount which it also appreciated thanks to its excellent exposure to the sun. Borglum known as of the Rushmore Mount by seeing it, America will ravel along this horizon. .
After long negotiations with a delegation of the Congress and US president Calvin Coolidge, the project accepted the approval of the congress. The American Congress authorized the launching of a National Commission of the memorial of the Rushmore Mount the March 3rd 1925. The president of the time Calvin Coolidge insisted that two republican and a democratic are carved near president Washington.
The cutting of the rock began in 1927 and finished in 1941. The image of Thomas Jefferson was in the beginning envisaged with the right-hand side of Washington but because of a rock not adapted to the sculpture of its face, it passed on the left from Washington.
Between the October 4th 1927 and the October 31st, 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workmen thus carved four the 18 meters high faces to commemorate the first 150 years of the history of the United States. The presidents were chosen by Borghlum for their respective roles in the safeguarding and the expansion of the national territory.
In 1933, the national service of the parks (National Park Service) took the park under its jurisdiction and took part in the project by improving the infrastructures. For example, the service improved a railway so that the top of the mount is more easily accessible to the workmen. The July 4th 1934, the face of Washington was completed. The face of Thomas Jefferson was finished in 1936, and that of Abraham Lincoln the September 17th 1937. In 1937, an additional basic request was introduced near the congress to add the head of Susan B. Anthony but only the funds to finish the already started faces were allocated. In 1939, the face of Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated.
The workshop of the sculptor ( Sculptor' S Studio ) who contains an exposure of plaster moulds and tools having been used for the realization of the sculpture was built in 1939 under the direction of Borglum. Borglum died of a Embolie in March 1941. His/her son Lincoln Borglum, completed the project but insufficient funds sounded the end of work. It should be noticed that the preliminary draft envisaged to also carry out the bust of the four presidents but finally only the faces were completed.
Borglum had also imagined the realization of a giant panel (in 2.44 meters high gilded letters) taking again historical facts like the Déclaration of independence, the American Constitution, the purchase of the Louisiana and seven other acquisitions like the Alaska or the Texas.
The total costs of work rose with 989.992,32 dollars. It is interesting to notice that no workman was killed at the time of the realization of work what is remarkable for the time.
In a canyon in the vicinity a safe deposit dug in the rock is which contains 16 panels in Porcelaine enamelled. The panels accommodate the text of the Declaration of independence, the Constitution, the American history and the Biographie of the four presidents and Borglum. This room was open in 1998.
Work was also completed in the Années 1990 to improve the infrastructures of reception of the visitors (Museum, house of tourism and paths marked out). Workmen mountaineers climb each year work in order to maintain it. The July 8th 2005, the German company Kärcher well-known for its cleaning high pressure, carried out an operation marketing by cleaning the sculpture with pressurized and heated water with 95 °C.
The mount is a subject of controversy among the Amerindians Lakota S because those lost their grounds following the war the opponent at the US government between 1876 and 1877. The treated of Strong Laramie in 1868 had indeed left the area to this tribe. Lakotas consider these hills as crowned even if the historians think that Lakotas had also conquered the area previously by the force by driving out the tribes Cheyennes in 1776.
Members of the Indian movements occupied the monument to protest in 1971 by baptizing it “Mount Crazy Horse”. The Shaman John Fire (whose Indian name Lame Cerf is ) there carried out a prayer on the mountain to remind the promise not-behavior of the White following the rupture of the treaty. The monument is for some racist because it could be interpreted as an indication of a superiority of the White on the Indian nation by the fact that the four presidents were in function during the acquisition of the Amerindian ancestral grounds. These hills were indeed crowned for the natives and the construction of such a monument is shocking for those just like would be to it the profanation of a church among catholics… Gutzon Borglum itself is prone to the controversy because it was in relation to the Ku Klux Klan during its work.
The monument still nowadays remains a subject of discord although a director of Amerindian origin was named in 2004 with the head of the park.
In answer to this monument, another memorial (“Crazy Horse Memorial”) is currently in construction a little further in the Black Hills. The purpose of it represents celebrates it Amerindian chief Crazy Horse and is to show the crowned character of the area for the Amerindians. The chief looks in direction of the East over the mane of sound mustang towards the ground where its warriors died. This sculpture which should exceed in the face the Rushmore Mount is financed by the foundation Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation . This one refused any financial aid of the American federal government. The sculptor of Polish origin Korczak Ziolkowsk , helped from the Indian chief Henry Standing Bear , began the realization from this work in 1948 after having bought the mountain with his own sums of money. The sculptor died in 1982 at the 77 years age without seeing his succeeded work. Nevertheless its descendants continue the work which could still last 50 years according to certain estimates.
Fauna and the flora are similar to those met in the surrounding area of the Black Hills.
One can see there urubus with red head, sea eagles with white head, Accipiter S, Sittidae S, and green woodpeckers. The mammals are represented by the Tamia S, the Mouffette S, the Porc-épic, the raccoons, the beaver S, the Coyote S, the Canadian moufflons and the russet-red Lynx. The two brooks in the memorial, named “Grizzly Bear” and “Starling Basin”, shelter fish like the Saumon of fountain. Certain animals are not originating in the zone. The goats of Rock the were thus offered in 1924 by the Canada to the Parc of State Custer near to the Rushmore Mount. The goats then escaped before colonizing all the area of the memorial.
At low altitude, the area is covered with coniferous of which the pine Ponderosa. One also finds Chêne S, spruces and Peuplier S. Last nine species of Arbrisseau X are also present. The wild flowers are represented by the muflier, the Tournesol and the violet. In altitude, the flora becomes more scattered.
Although the area annually receives approximately 460 mm of precipitations, these last are irregularly distributed in the year. The vegetable cover contributes to the protection of the grounds against the erosion. Barrage S also block the water of Pluie and thus feed the animals all the year. The Sedimentary rock also shelters water tables which keep water and restore it during the year thanks to some sources.
A forest fire occurs on average every 27 years if one believes of them the traces left on the trunks of the old trees. The fires clean the surrounding forest of the vegetable remains but nevertheless are limited in the face with some exceptions.
GeologyThe ground of the mount is mainly made up of Granite. The granite made up of Batholite belongs to a usual geological formation in the Black Hills of the South Dakota.
The batholite is of ic origin Volcan and is included in older rocks made up of schists dating from the time Précambrien there are not approximately 1,6 billion years. However the cooling of these rocks in fusion also revealed mineral inclusions including/understanding of the quartz, of the Feldspath, the Muscovite, and the Biotite. One also finds Dyke S of Pegmatite which one finds in the clearer coloring of the faces of the presidents.
The granite underwent a broad erosion during the Precambrian one but was covered with sandy rocks during the Cambrien. The zone remained thus covered and protected from erosion until approximately 70 million years ago. This erosion also revealed at discovered zones of transition between the granite and the schist noirâtre under the face from Washington.
Borglum selected the site according to the properties of these rocks. The granite erodes indeed only of 2,5 centimetres all them: 10000 years and is enough resistant to support the weight of the sculptures. With its: 1745 meters in height, it was also about the more high mountain of the zone.
TourismTourism is the second economic activity of the State of the South Dakota. The memorial is the principal engine of this industry with more than two million visitors each year.
The museum Lincoln Borglum is located in the memorial. It comprises two rooms of projection of 125 places each one which propose a 13 minute old film on the history of the mount. A path connects through the forest of pines the museum to the Sculptor' S Studio . This one explains the way in which the monument was built. A 30 minutes projection also proceeds there. The evening, the monument is enlightened during two hours.
Popular cultureThe Rushmore mount was often used as decoration for many Film S American. Considering the emblematic importance of this monument, the cinema often attacked the faces of the presidents. Those thus were regularly modified and replaced by faces of invaders conquerors…
Thus in the film Superman II , the general Zod and its accomplices use of their superpouvoirs to replace the four faces by theirs. In the same way in the film Attacks Mars! of Tim Burton, the Martians use their flying saucers to work over again in a few seconds the presidential effigies by replacing them by extraterrestrial faces. The album In Rock'n'roll of the rock group Deep Purple also replaced the four presidents by the five members of the group.
Particularly spectacular monument, it was thus a central decoration for many films, various publicities and representations. With the cinema, its most famous use is the final sequence of Death with the cases of Alfred Hitchcock in 1959, with Cary Grant, James Mason and Eva Marie Saint.
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