The carving started in 1927, and ended on October 31,1941 with no fatalities. Historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea for Mount Rushmore in 1923 to promote tourism in South Dakota.

In 1924, Robinson persuaded sculptor Gutzon Borglum to travel to the Black Hills region to ensure the carving could be accomplished. Borglum said upon seeing Mount Rushmore, "America will march along that skyline."

Between October 4, 1927, and October 31, 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the colossal 60 foot high carvings of U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history. These presidents were selected by Borglum because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory.

Tourism is South Dakota's second-largest industry, and Mount Rushmore is its top tourist attraction.The memorial hosts nearly three million visitors a year.