Independence Day Vacation Tips

Celebrate American Independence Day at Mount Rushmore – Tips for you Indepence Day Vacation!

These days our holidays are the thing we work hardest to be able to afford. We wait all year for them and they are all too often over far too quickly but next year why not ring the changes and do something really special. Instead of the usual Costa cruises or Baltic beach holidays why not immerse yourself in the culture of a country by joining in with one of their most popular national holidays at one of their national monuments? Getting involved with something as important to a nation as a public holiday allows you to become a part of the culture you are visiting and to really get a feel for the country, how its people live and most importantly how they party. Whether it’s running with the bulls in Pamplona Spain or the vibrantly colourful Holi Celebrations in India, there is plenty to get involved in and lots to choose from.

Undoubtedly the single most important non-religious celebration in the United States is the firework extravaganza that is Independence Day on the 4TH July and where better to celebrate than at the foot of the mountain onto which are etched the faces of four of Americas most venerated leaders – Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Flag of the United States
Flag of the United States

The History of Mount Rushmore.

Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota Mount Rushmore has also been called The Presidents Mountain and was an idea dreamed up by Doane Robinson sometimes affectionately known as the “Father of Mount Rushmore”. The idea was to create a focal point in his state that would attract people from all over the country to come and visit. It was to be the ultimate tourist attraction.

Once he had the idea, Robinson needed a man who could pull off something on the scale he was looking for. The sculpter, Gutzon Borglum was, at that time, working on the monument at Stone Mountain GA and seemed to Robinson to be the perfect man for the job. The two men met during 1924-1925 and it was Borglum who identified Mount Rushmore as the ideal site on which to locate such a grand monument.

Now all they needed was approval and funding from congress in order to get their project up and running. With help from John Boland, Congressman William Williamson, Senator Peter Norbeck and President Calvin Coolidge  they managed to persuade congress to match up to $250,000 of funding for the project and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission was born.

The work on the memorial finally began and 1933 became a part of the National Park Service (NPS). This annoyed Borglum who resented being overseen by the NPS, however, in spite of this he continued to work on the monument until his death in 1941.

The monument was finally finished and ready for dedication on October 31st 1941.

Things to Know Before you Go.

  • There were originally plans to have a “Hall of Records” behind the carving that would be home to the story of the building of Rushmore but it was never finished due to a lack of funds.
  • In its entirety Mount Rushmore cost a total of $989,992.32 to complete.
  • Jefferson’s face was not started where it is today. It was originally intended to go on Washington’s right side but after 18 months work it was realised that this wasn’t working and so his face was removed with dynamite and repositioned on the other side.

What to Expect on your Trip to Mount Rushmore.

Mount Rushmore has long been acclaimed as one of the ten man-made wonders of the world and is a monumental tribute to America’s culture and history. As such you can expect to discover a truly magnificent venue in which to witness one of the greatest public holidays in the American calendar. Make your way down the Avenue of Flags to the half mile path appropriately dubbed the Presidential Trail and get up close and personal with the towering edifices, visit the museum or the Grandview Terrace above.

Whatever you do though be sure to get there the day before on July 3rd as well as this is usually the day the commemorative events are planned for and the fireworks that night will take your breath away.