Travel: Destination Mount Rushmore
The Famous Faces Of The South Dakota Landmark Have Starring Role In National Treasure 2
Mount Rushmore is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. And recently it has gotten a landslide of attention thanks to the South Dakota landmark’s starring role in the blockbuster film sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
Nicolas Cage is happy about the recognition the movie has gotten, and said, “I believe in the power of film.” He hopes that the action-packed adventure inspires “youngsters to look in their history books.” And of course a follow-up visit to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial would be a wonderful way to learn about America.
After filming on the impressive location, Cage reported, “I really appreciate history now. I enjoy being in places where I feel the weight of past events.”
It was back in the 1920s when a mountainside sculpture of Old West heroes was first envisioned. Inspired by the idea, sculptor Gutzon Borglum traveled to the Black Hills of South Dakota to assess the granite facing on a site called Rushmore Mountain.
Rather than Western heroes, Borglum felt that four presidents who influenced the American West would be more appropriate for the carving. President Calvin Coolidge approved the project and in 1927 work begun.
For the next fourteen years Borglum and his workers blasted the mountain, stopping the operation many times, for bad weather and funding problems. Eventually the likeness of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt emerged on the granite.
Borglum died of a heart attack in March of 1941, and in six months his son concluded the work as it is viewed today.
The monument has been a wonderful legacy for countless generations. There’s a feeling of tremendous pride and awe that everyone gets during a visit to see the grand sculpture. It is a historic masterpiece.
A stop at the nearby Borglum historical center in the town of Keystone is a great way to learn about how the ingenious sculptor was able to accomplish the tremendous feat.
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open year-round. The famous faces can be seen from the roadside 24-hours a day, but for the best view of the monument the memorial facilities are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. There is no admission charged but there is a fee for the most convenient parking lot.
Photos buffs should note that the morning light will give them the best shots of the site. Although, seeing the nightly lighting ceremony is an impressive sight. The mountainside sculpture is illuminated with floodlights and remains lit for at least two hours.
When you visit, it is best to allow at least two hours to explore Mount Rushmore. There is a restaurant with a great view of the presidents, but let the information center be your first stop at the memorial. It provides information about current activities and programs. Exhibits, a bookstore and brochures are also available to help you plan your time at the Mount Rushmore, and maybe an extended visit to the majestic Black Hills of South Dakota.
It is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. And, as Nicolas Cage reported, “inspire your imagination.”