May
23

Visit Mount Rushmore for a great domestic trip

By

mount rushmore monumentThe four presidential faces, carved 60-feet high in the granite of Mount Rushmore, comprise one of America’s most revered images. But many visitors cannot help thinking of Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North by Northwest, where he and Eva Marie Saint clamber across the monolith pursued by Communist spies. The shot was actually filmed in a Hollywood studio, but it convinced millions of people that they too could climb the patriotic monument.

This is not the case: Access to Mount Rushmore has been blocked by a high-security fence ever since the artist Gutzon Borglum died in 1941 and work on the giant sculpture ceased. But according to his original plan, Borglum had intended that the public be able to reach his giant faces via a splendid stone staircase. In the late 1930s, he even began work on a splendid vault buried within the rock for tourists to visit – called the Hall of Records, it was planned as a repository for the original Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Worried that future generations might find Mount Rushmore as enigmatic, Borglum also wanted a museum to store information on the four presidents – Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt – and an explanation of “how the memorial was built and frankly, why.”

The vault was never finished. Today, it’s simply an ever-narrowing passage that stretches about 80 feet into the rock, and one can run one’s fingers over granite walls still honeycombed with drill marks. Still, Borglum’s wish would be partly fulfilled. In 1998, the Park Service inscribed 16 porcelain panels with historical data about Mount Rushmore, secured them in a titanium-lined casket, then buried them in the incomplete Hall of Records – the last work ever expected to be done on the site.

Destinations aren’t just places on a map. They’re the backdrop for some of the most fascinating stories in history. Bring these stories to life with Preferred Travel NJ and Globus..

Categories : General Travel Tips

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