questions about Mount Rushmore!
By Jean L.S. Patrick,
Who Carved the Mountain? The Story of Mount
Face to Face with Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore Memories
ask me all sorts of questions about Mount Rushmore,
so I've decided to keep a running list of Q&A's.
Scroll down to see a ton of questions, answers, and
If you have a question,
and I'll do my best to answer you with an email.
I'll also post the answer below.
there any gold behind Mount Rushmore? R.D.
A: In the
National Treasure movie, Mount
Rushmore is full of golden treasures. As far
as we know, this is not true. However,
gold was found in the Black Hills in the 1870s.
Which president was carved first?
Who was in charge of carving Mount Rushmore?
How long did it take to make it perfect?
Gutzon Borglum did everything he could to make the
faces perfect. He looked at them from the base
of the mountain and from every angle. He also
looked at the faces at different times of the day,
examining the light and the shadows. When a
change needed to be made, he showed the workers
exactly what to do.
with George Washington's face and continued to
perfect it throughout the years of carving.
How many days did it take to carve Mount Rushmore?
drilling began on October 4, 1927. The carving
ended on October 31, 1941. That's 14 years and
28 days. However, the workers didn't work
every single day. Usually they didn't work during
How come Abraham Lincoln is so far away from the
other three presidents? L.R.
first, Gutzon Borglum planned to carve the faces in
the following order: Thomas Jefferson, George
Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. (George
Washington would be in the middle.) But when
the workers were halfway through carving Thomas
Jefferson, they realized that the rock was weak.
and the workers blasted Jefferson off the mountain
and began to carve him on the other side of
Washington. Because of this, Borglum had to
figure out a new place to put Lincoln. He
decided to carve Lincoln on the end where the rock
would be stable.
How many people died while carving Mount Rushmore?
one died during the blasting and carving process.
However, some of the workers died later of silicosis
(a lung condition). This was caused by the
dust that the they inhaled while they were carving
How long did it take to carve Mount Rushmore?
took about 14 years to carve Mount Rushmore.
The carving began in 1927 and stopped in 1941.
How many children did Guzton Borglum have?
and his wife had two children: Lincoln and
Where did Gutzon Borglum live?
Gutzon Borglum and his family lived on a ranch near
Hermosa, South Dakota.
Why do the presidents' eyes look so real? A.K.
pupil of each eye is a 20-inch shaft of granite.
When the sunlight shines on the flat end of the
shaft, the eye appears to twinkle.
Why do the Presidents' eyes look like they're
staring at you? P.J.
Gutzon Borglum was a genius. His artistic
talent and hard work allowed him to achieve this
Which presidents from Mount Rushmore are on United
George Washington (quarter); Thomas Jefferson
(nickel); and Abraham Lincoln (penny).
Which president from Mount Rushmore is not on
a United States coin?
How much dynamite did they use? M.P.
How much dynamite was used for blasting? K.E.
The workers used 6,000 pounds of dynamite to carve George
Washington. (Just imagine how much dynamite it
took to carve all four faces!)
How many people died while working on Mount
one died while working on the mountain.
However, at least one worker died later of silicosis
(a lung problem caused by inhaling the rock dust).
Are the noses hollow?
The nostrils are only slight indentations.
However, the shadows make them look hollow.
are their noses so big? L.H
Borglum had to make the noses fit the huge size of
the faces. Each nose is about 20 feet long.
For more information about the noses,
Are there wild animals near Mount Rushmore?
wild animals live near Mount Rushmore, including
Just south of Mount Rushmore (in Custer State Park)
you can see bison, deer, elk, prairie dogs, and
burros. Mountain lions are also found in the
Black Hills, but they are rarely seen.
*** If you
like animals, you'll be interested in my next book,
scheduled to be published in 2014! Keep
visiting my website for information.
Q: Why did
they want to create the faces on Mount Rushmore?
Were they just being creative? V.B.
Gutzon Borglum thought that Mount Rushmore would be
the best place to carve the faces. The cliff
was high above the land. Also, it faced the
southeast. This would allow the faces to be in
though he thought it was a great place to create art
(i.e. be creative), not everyone agreed with him.
Many of the Lakota people believed that the Black
Hills were sacred. Also, many of the people
believed the carving would ruin the natural beauty
of the Black Hills.
Can a person go inside Mount Rushmore? L.L.
The mountain is made of granite. Some people
think that you can go inside of the nostrils and
peek out the eyes. This would be a lot of fun.
However, there are no openings into the figures on
Why was South Dakota chosen to be the place to carve
Mount Rushmore? S.M.
is an interesting question. South Dakota
wasn't chosen for the location. Rather, South
Dakota was where the idea developed.
The person who had the first idea for the carving (Doane
Robinson) lived in Pierre, South Dakota. He
wanted to carve the "Needles" in the Black Hills.
When Gutzon Borglum came to South Dakota to do the
carving, he saw Mount Rushmore and believed that it
would be a great place to carve the presidents.
What was the inspiration of Mount Rushmore?
are two answers to this question.
Originally, Doane Robinson wanted to carve western
heroes on the tall rocks called the Needles.
He believed that this would bring tourists to South
Dakota. But sculptor Gutzon Borglum had other
plans. He believed that the faces of the
presidents would be more likely to attract visitors.
Borglum loved the United States of America. He
believed that the four presidents would be a
long-lasting symbol of the United States, its
history, and its ideals of freedom and democracy.
Why did he pick these presidents?
Why did they choose the four particular presidents
believed that these presidents represented the
history of the United States. George
Washington represented the birth of the
United States. Thomas Jefferson represented the
growth of the United States. Abraham
Lincoln represented the preservation of the
United States, despite the horror of the Civil
War. Theodore Roosevelt represented the
development of the nation.
How many people were involved in carving Mount
Approximately 400 men and women used their abilities
to create the carving on Mount Rushmore. Some worked
only a few days. Others worked for years.
Did anyone ever get fired?
Gutzon Borglum often fired and rehired his workers.
One worker was fired for yodeling.
What are the names of the people who built Mount
There were over 400 men and women who worked
together to create the faces on Mount Rushmore.
I don't know all of their names. However, Jack
Payne was the name of the worker who was fired for
Did they ever mess up and start over? M.G.
In fact, part of Thomas Jefferson was originally
carved on the OTHER side of George Washington.
When the workers realized that the rock was not
strong, Gutzon Borglum asked them to blast
Jefferson's head off the mountain. After that,
they began to carve Jefferson in the place where he
Why is Washington first? T.K.
Gutzon Borglum started with Washington because he
wanted him to be the main figure. He carved
Washington on the highest part of the mountain.
any of the heads have initials on them? E.H.
is a very interesting question. I don't know if
the workers carved their initials on the heads.
If you were a worker, would you have carved your
initials? What do you think Gutzon Borglum
would have done if he found out?
Why did they decide to carve only four faces?
was not enough carvable rock to add more faces.
Some people did want a fifth face to be
carved.... In 1935, many people thought that
the face of Susan B. Anthony should be added to
Mount Rushmore. Gutzon Borglum explained that
there was not enough rock remained that was strong
enough to be carved.
How tall are the faces?
How tall is Mount Rushmore? T.A.
feet above sea level.
Why did Gutzon Borglum carve Mount Rushmore?
wanted the presidents' faces to represent the
history and the ideals of the United States.
What was the purpose of writing the Mount Rushmore
idea for the book came from the Mount Rushmore
History Association. They asked me to write a
picture book about how and why Mount Rushmore was
I didn't think
it would take much time to write Who
Carved the Mountain? The Story of Mount Rushmore.
However, it took almost 18 months to
research, write, and revise
When this book
was done, they asked me to write a book that would
help young people think about Mount Rushmore and its
meaning. This book is called Face to
Face with Mount Rushmore.
How did you see with your glasses off?
you looking at my photograph on the inside of the
book jacket of Who Carved the Mountain? This
is one of my favorite pictures. Even though my
glasses are off, I can still see quite well.
(My glasses help me to see things that are up
see the photo again.
this story real?
this story about the carving of Mount Rushmore is
true. I love to write nonfiction (true
stories) about things that are unusual and exciting.
These were the kind of books I liked to read when I
was a kid. I think that's why I like to write
Do you have
a question? Ask it
in an email.
later to see if I've added it to the list.
Face to Face with Mount
Who Carved the Mountain? The
Story of Mount Rushmore
School Visits and