Just a fun summer Friday FYI: There’s a Hall of Records carved into the mountain behind Mount Rushmore—specifically, Abe Lincoln’s head. It’s inaccessible to the public, and it’s designed to store copies of important American documents for thousands of years.
So basically it’s a storage locker for what you might call... if you were so inclined... “national treasure.”
This lovely little tidbit isn’t a secret, exactly, but should certainly be more widely known, considering it’s the stuff of which particularly fevered episodes of the X-Files are made. It was part of designer and sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s original vision, but it wasn’t added until 1998, and Tech Insider did a brief post on it today, writing:
Today, sealed behind a 1,200-pound granite slab and tucked inside a wooden box are the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, a biography of Borglum, and short descriptions of each president featured on the monument. The text of each document is carved into a series of porcelain enamel panels.
Because porcelain enamel panels are what you pick when you want your documents to last a very, very, very long time, and even archival-quality paper just won’t do. National Parks Traveler wrote about the hall in 2007, after hearing mention of the site connection to (you guessed it) the movie National Treasure. Those panels have also been “sealed in a teakwood box, then placed in a titanium vault, and finally sealed shut under the weight of a 1,200 pound granite capstone inside the unfinished hall.”
This is not a time capsule. These documents are to remain buried for thousands of years. Borglum literally had it in mind to send the message of our country to future civilizations. He 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.”
The pictures look like something from an ancient pyramid—coincidence??? Surely not!
Photos via AP Images, National Park Service.