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The 1940's
Mount Rushmore Is Completed

Mount Rushmore Is Completed
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.5

     challenging words:    artistry, dynamite, enormity, immortalize, equality, consistency, federal, historian, endure, granite, spectacular, tribute, twentieth, union, sculpt, entire
     content words:    Black Hills, South Dakota, United States, Mount Rushmore, Rapid City, Charles E., New York, Doane Robinson, Harney National Forest Preserve, Black Hills National Forest

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Mount Rushmore Is Completed
By Jane Runyon

1     If you travel to the Black Hills of South Dakota, you can visit one of the few free spectacular attractions you can find in the United States. Mount Rushmore is located just about twenty-three miles southwest of Rapid City, South Dakota. On the side of this 5,700 foot mountain, you will see the familiar faces of four United States presidents. Each face is approximately sixty feet tall.
2     Mount Rushmore is named after Charles E. Rushmore. He was a New York lawyer who came to South Dakota in 1885 to investigate land claims for miners. The granite this mountain is made from is soft and grainy. The consistency of the granite made it particularly attractive for the sculptures which would appear on the mountain.
3     The idea for the sculptures came from a state historian named Doane Robinson. He wanted the state to create something interesting enough to draw tourists to the Black Hills. The land was not much good for farming, ranching, or manufacturing. He suggested that statues of great western heroes might bring the people in. A senator and a congressman from South Dakota agreed. They petitioned the federal government and were given permission to carve a tribute on a mountain in Harney National Forest Preserve. That preserve is now called the Black Hills National Forest.
4     Once they had permission to carve the mountain, they needed to find a sculptor up to the task. They found that man in Gutzon Borglum. Borglum went to South Dakota in 1924 and began looking for just the right spot to perform his artistry. When he saw Mount Rushmore and its soft granite, he knew he had found just the right mountain.
5     He could picture his work as it faced the southeast. That meant it would have good light shining on it for most of the day. He had the granite analyzed and found that it was not going to erode very fast. As a matter of fact, scientists said that the rock surface would erode only one inch every 10,000 years. That meant that his work would be around for a very long time.

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