The monumental sculpture of Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, took 14 years to complete. In a tribute to the engineering construction skills of the workers involved, not a single life was lost during the process.

Photograph by Nicole Nieves, My Shot
  • On October 31, 1941, carving and construction of Mount Rushmore National Memorial was completed after 14 years of work. The sculpture features portraits of former Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, carved into the granite face of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

    The Mount Rushmore memorial cost nearly a million dollars. More than 400 workers—including surveyors and draftsmen, demolitions experts and sculptors—were employed in the project. The site covers more than 485 hectares (1,200 acres) and is visited by two million people each year. Each head is more than 18 meters (60 feet) tall. The four presidents were selected to recognize the role each had played in expanding the territory of the United States.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    carve Verb

    to cut or slice through.

    construction Noun

    arrangement of different parts.

    expand Verb

    to grow or get larger.

    granite Noun

    type of hard, igneous rock.

    memorial adjective, noun

    something designed or written to preserve the memory of an event or person.

    portrait Noun

    image of a person's face.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    sculpture Noun

    three-dimensional artwork that is carved, molded, or modeled to create its shape.

    select Verb

    to choose.

    territory Noun

    land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.