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How Mount Rushmore was Created

Ask This Old House mason Mark McCullough learns about how Mount Rushmore was built.

Mount Rushmore Timeline

1. Mark learned that Mount Rushmore was built using the following techniques:
a. Workers would climb to the top of the mountain, get into harnesses, and would be lowered down the cliff face using a series of winches.
b. Then, dynamite would be placed in key locations. Everyone would clear the mountain and the blasts would take off most of the material, down to about 6” of the stone required for carving the actual faces.
c. To carve out the features, workers used a process called honeycombing, which was just a series of holes drilled close together in a honeycomb pattern to make it safer and easier to remove pieces of the stone.
d. Finally, artists with carving tools were lowered down to do the final cuts and chiseling until the stones took the shapes of the presidents.

2. It took 14 years to create Mount Rushmore, starting in October 1927 and completing in 1941. There were no casualties while creating the monument.


Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Mount Rushmore National Memorial.