Mount Rushmore National Memorial is literally South Dakota's biggest attraction, covering 1,278.45 acres (5.17 km2)and drawing over two million visitors annually. It was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum between 1927 and 1941, along with 400 workers, creating 60-foot (18m) carvings of US Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history.
The entire project cost under one million dollars and, somewhat remarkably given the danger of the work, no-one died during its completion. One interesting fact is that the sculpture was not completed as intended by the artist, as the faces were originally intended to have bodies. The sculpture is controversial among native Americans as a previous treaty had granted the land and mountain, known as Six Fathers, to the Lakota tribe.
Today Mount Rushmore attracts roughly three million visitors each year to the remote area in the Black Hills. Visitors to the site can stroll through teh Avenue of Flags (representing all 50 states), walk the Presidential Trail to the best viewing areas, and watch the evening lighting ceremony, held nightly at 9pm. The site has a visitors centre, gift shop, and a cafe.
Telephone: 605 574 2523
Opening times: Visitor Centre: 8am-10pm (closes 5pm in winter).
Admission: Parking: $11