Perhaps Mount Rushmore National Memorial's greatest impact on visitors is the realization that it truly stands as a powerful symbol of America.
Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore, chose the four presidents to stand as epic symbols of our nation:
- Washington, " father of the nation;"
- Jefferson, prime author of the Declaration of Independence;
- Roosevelt, trust-buster, conservationist and expansionist;
- Lincoln, the great emancipator who preserved the Union.
Borglum saw the scenic heartland of America as exactly the place to realize his dream of carving a mountain memorial to the great leaders upon whose principles and actions the nation was founded, expanded and sustained.
The heads on Mount Rushmore are 60 ft (18 m) high, scaled to men who would stand 465 feet (141 m) tall if fully carved. Each nose is 20 feet (6.4 m) long, and the eyes are 11 feet (3.6 m) wide. Lincoln's mole is 16 inches (40.6 cm) across. Borglum redesigned the monument nine times during the construction, fully intending to carve the presidents to the waist. He died in 1941, his work unfinished.