The likeness of Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore was officially dedicated on this day in history on Sept. 17, 1937.
Serving as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 to 1865, Abraham Lincoln led the country through some of its darkest years.
He is considered by many scholars to be the greatest president our nation has had, according to Visit Rapid City in South Dakota.
“He was instrumental in the abolishment of slavery and is credited with setting in motion the work to preserve the United States after the Civil War,” the same source cited.
On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.
He died the next day, on April 15, 1865.
Mount Rushmore pays patriotic tribute to four United States presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln — with 60-foot-tall faces carved into a mountainside in the Black Hills of South Dakota, according to National Geographic.
The George Washington head on Mount Rushmore was formally dedicated in 1930, followed by Jefferson in 1936, Lincoln in 1937 and Roosevelt in 1939, according to several sources.
The carved faces of the American presidents represent one of the world’s largest examples of sculpture.
The carved faces of the American presidents are shaped from granite rock face and were created between 1927 and 1941.
They represent one of the world’s largest examples of sculpture.
Mount Rushmore is also one of America’s most popular tourist attractions, as History.com notes.
The mountain itself, at an elevation of 5,725 feet, was named in 1885 for Charles E. Rushmore, a New York lawyer.
The memorial covers two square miles. The U.S. National Park Service assumed administration of the site in 1933, according to Britannica.com.
However, many Native Americans believe Mount Rushmore represents a desecration of lands considered sacred by the Lakota Sioux, the original residents of the Black Hills region who were displaced by White settlers and gold miners in the late 19th century, the same source recounted.
Goal of attracting tourism
With a goal of attracting tourism to the Black Hills in the early 1920s, South Dakota’s state historian Doane Robinson thought up the idea to sculpt several giant natural granite pillars into the shape of historic heroes of the West, according History.com.
He suggested Red Cloud, the Sioux chief who signed the Fort Laramie treaty, as a potential subject, the same source chronicled.
In the last days of his presidency, President Calvin Coolidge signed legislation appropriating $250,000 in federal funds for the Mount Rushmore project.
Then, in August 1924, after the original sculptor he contracted with was unavailable, Robinson contacted Gutzon Borglum, an American sculptor who was then working on carving an image of Confederate General Robert E. Lee into the face of Georgia’s Stone Mountain, according to multiple sources.
In 1929, during the last days of his presidency, President Calvin Coolidge signed legislation appropriating $250,000 in federal funds for the Mount Rushmore project and created the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission to oversee Mount Rushmore’s completion, according to History.com.
“But with the onset of the Great Depression, Mount Rushmore quickly suffered from financial troubles and multiple work stoppages. It took 14 years to construct, of which only six were invested in actually carving. Most of that time was spent trying to raise money and political and public support,” according to The Press Democrat.
In the end, Mount Rushmore was built for $1 million, of which 85% was federal funding, the same source indicated.
On Oct. 31, 1941, Mount Rushmore National Memorial was declared a completed project, according to the National Park Service.
Today, more than two million people a year travel to the Black Hills to see Mount Rushmore, according to the National Park Service.
It should come as no surprise that the most popular time of year to visit is around the Fourth of July, when more than 30,000 people attend the annual fireworks show.