A Secret Room Inside Mount Rushmore Holds Answers for Future Civilizations


Millions of people venture to South Dakota every year to gaze up at the 60-foot carvings of four great American leaders on the face of Mount Rushmore. The story behind the creation of the famous carvings is already odd enough, but it takes another turn when you learn that there is actually a secret room located behind the faces of Mount Rushmore.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Gutzon Borglum was a well-known artist when he was commissioned to create what would become Mount Rushmore. Borglum was an eccentric man, and he insisted on building a secret room, called the Hall of Records, behind the carvings to inform future civilizations what the huge faces in the mountainside meant and about the history of our country. Borglum said, “You might as well drop a letter into the world’s postal service without an address or signature, as to send that carved mountain into history without identification. Each succeeding civilization forgets its predecessor. Civilizations are ghouls.”

Photo Credit: Public Domain

Borglum started work on the hidden room, located right behind Abe Lincoln’s hairline, in 1938, 11 years after he started creating Mount Rushmore. Borglum wanted the room to contain a description of the project as well as a collection of artifacts related to U.S. history, such as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He envisioned an 800-foot rock staircase that visitors would climb to enter an 18-foot high door that opened to a 38-foot wide gold-plated eagle. The U.S. government wasn’t exactly feeling that part of the project, so they insisted that Borglum focus on the faces.

Borglum died in 1941 from complications during a surgery, leaving both the Mount Rushmore faces and the hidden chamber unfinished. His son stepped in to complete the faces, which took an additional 7 months, but the room was left incomplete. Borglum’s family lobbied the government to finish the room, and in 1998, tablets documenting the history of the project were finally placed in the Hall of Records with some of Borglum’s family members present.

One tablet contains the following words written by Borglum:

 I want, somewhere in America, on or near the Rockies, the backbone of the Continent, so far removed from succeeding, selfish, coveting civilizations, a few feet of stone that bears witness, carries the likeness, the dates, a word or two of the great things we accomplished as a Nation, placed so high it won’t pay to pull them down for lesser purposes. Hence, let us place there, carved high, as close to heaven as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were. Then breathe a prayer that these records will endure until the wind and rain alone shall wear them away.

The Hall of Records remains closed to the public.

h/t: Curiosity