Can Mount Rushmore be classified as a National Historic Landmark?

Tourist Attractions

By Kristy Tolley

Introduction to Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, United States. The sculpture features the faces of four American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. The monument was designed by Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, and was completed in 1941. Mount Rushmore has become a major tourist destination in the United States, attracting millions of visitors every year.

Understanding National Historic Landmarks

National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are properties that are significant in American history, architecture, engineering, archaeology, or culture. These properties are designated by the Secretary of the Interior and are recognized as the highest level of historic recognition in the United States. NHLs are not only recognized for their historic significance but also for their potential to educate and inspire future generations.

Criteria for National Historic Landmark Designation

To be considered for NHL designation, properties must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Association with events or persons significant in American history or culture
  • Association with important architectural or engineering achievements
  • Association with significant cultural values or artistic achievements
  • Potential to yield information important in prehistory or history

Properties must also possess integrity in their location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

History of Mount Rushmore Construction

Construction of Mount Rushmore began in 1927, under the leadership of Gutzon Borglum. Borglum and his team used dynamite to remove large amounts of rock from the mountainside and then carefully sculpted the faces of the four presidents. The sculpture was completed in 1941, but Borglum died before it was finished. His son, Lincoln Borglum, oversaw the final stages of the project.

Significance of Mount Rushmore in American History

Mount Rushmore is considered one of the most iconic symbols of American democracy. The monument represents the ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality that are at the core of American values. The faces of the four presidents also represent different periods in American history: George Washington symbolizes the birth of the nation, Thomas Jefferson represents its expansion, Abraham Lincoln represents its preservation, and Theodore Roosevelt represents its development.

Arguments for Mount Rushmore as a National Historic Landmark

Mount Rushmore meets several of the criteria for NHL designation. It is associated with significant persons and events in American history, it is an important engineering achievement, and it possesses significant cultural and artistic values. Mount Rushmore also has integrity in its location, design, and association.

Arguments Against Mount Rushmore as a National Historic Landmark

Some argue that Mount Rushmore does not meet the NHL criteria because it is not an authentic representation of American history. Others argue that the monument was built on land that was seized from Native Americans and that this history should not be celebrated.

Current Status of Mount Rushmore’s Designation

Mount Rushmore is not currently designated as an NHL, but it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service is responsible for managing the monument and ensuring its preservation.

Similar Sites Designated as National Historic Landmarks

Other sites designated as NHLs include the Statue of Liberty, the White House, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Implications of Mount Rushmore’s Designation

Designating Mount Rushmore as an NHL would ensure its long-term preservation and recognition as a significant cultural and historical site. It would also provide funding and resources for its maintenance and educational programs.

Conclusion: Should Mount Rushmore be a National Historic Landmark?

Mount Rushmore meets several of the criteria for NHL designation and is an iconic symbol of American democracy. However, its history and representation of American history are controversial. The decision to designate Mount Rushmore as an NHL should be carefully considered, taking into account all perspectives and implications.

Final Thoughts on Mount Rushmore and American History

Mount Rushmore is a powerful symbol of American history and values. It represents the best of American democracy, while also acknowledging the challenges and conflicts that have shaped the nation. As Americans continue to grapple with their history and identity, Mount Rushmore serves as a reminder of the ideals that unite them and the work that must be done to achieve them.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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