The Jewel of the Black Hills
Mount Rushmore, carved between 1927 and 1941, was the brainchild of South Dakota historian Doane Robinson as a way to increase tourism in the Black Hills of western South Dakota.
It worked. The site, run by the National Park Service, receives well over 2 million visitors a year.
I took this picture in April 2008 while living in the Black Hills and it is far and away the most artistic thing I’ve ever captured with a camera (though admittedly that’s a pretty low bar).
It’s a fantastic site but I was honestly a bit deflated by the monument’s size. The heads are roughly 60 feet tall, the eyes 11 feet wide, and the noses 21 feet tall.
No doubt impressive but perhaps the distance between monument and visitor skews the sense of size. I think the fact that it is one of the most recognized monuments in the country (and the world) also plays a part. You see it constantly in photographs, movies, and the like, and assume it to be mythic in scale.