Mount Rushmore Historical Photos Before the Famous Faces

This remarkable collection of historical photographs provides a captivating visual narrative of the transformation of Mount Rushmore, originally known as the Six Grandfathers, into the renowned national monument it is today.

Curated from esteemed sources such as the National Park Service and the Library of Congress, these images meticulously document the evolution of the colossal 60-foot high presidential faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, as they came to majestically overlook the scenic Black Hills of South Dakota.

During the period spanning from 1927 to 1941, a laborious process unfolded at Mount Rushmore, involving the utilization of dynamite, chisels, and drills to reshape the rock formation. Workers ascended 700 steps to reach the mount’s pinnacle and were then lowered using sturdy metal cables to access the stone face. To remove undesirable material, strategically placed dynamite charges were detonated. The initial rough form was further refined through a technique known as honeycombing, which entailed creating drill holes in the stone to give it a honeycomb-like appearance and weaken it for subsequent hand carving. Finally, a bumper tool was employed to achieve a polished finish, adding the final touches to the masterpiece.

Mount Rushmore Before & During Construction