L.A. Times staff writer Christopher Reynolds tells you 10 things you probably didn’t know about South Dakota landmark.
1. Charles E. Rushmore was a lawyer from New York. He was sent to South Dakota to check legal titles on some properties around the Black Hills in 1884 or 1885. By the National Park Service’s account, Rushmore asked the name of the mountain, and nearby resident Bill Challis told him it had none — “but from now on, we’ll call it Rushmore.”
2. Thomas Jefferson is a do-over. At first, sculptor Gutzon Borglum put Thomas Jefferson on George Washington’s right. But after 18 months of carving, Borglum changed plans, dynamited Jefferson off the mountain and put him in on Washington’s left.
Also, Theodore Roosevelt, the most controversial choice among the four Rushmore presidents, had died only eight years before the blasting began.
3. George Washington’s nose is longer than the others by about a foot. His measures 21 feet, top to bottom. The others measure about 20.
4. It’s free. Sort of. Though admission to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial is free, it costs $10 to park in the lot. The Rushmore memorial’s annual tourist tally jumped from 2.6 million to 2.9 million in the year after 9/11. But since then, annual visitation has dropped to 2.4 million in 2008, its lowest level in this decade.
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