Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered on a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the sculpture's design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum. The sculpture features the 60-foot heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, as recommended by Borglum. The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation's birth, growth, development and preservation, respectively. The memorial park covers 1,278 acres and the actual mountain has an elevation of 5,725 feet above sea level.
South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of noted figures into the mountains of the Black Hills of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. His initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from the Lakota, who consider the Black Hills to be sacred ground; it was originally included in the Great Sioux Reservation.