A Big Secret Lies Behind Lincoln's Head On Mount Rushmore

The United States is home to some of the world's most iconic and stunning landmarks. Some of them are natural, such as the majestic Grand Canyon, which stretches for an astonishing 446 km (277 miles), per Britannica. Then there are those that humans built themselves, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial.

There's something to see for every taste, whether you want to take in history and culture or you're just visiting a selection of the biggest and most awe-inspiring theme parks the planet has to offer. Some of these thrilling sights, however, blend the natural and the manmade. The ever-popular Mount Rushmore is one such example.

According to the National Park Service, visitors flock to Mount Rushmore in droves — more than two million annually, in fact. There are certain aspects of the site that most have never seen, however. Lincoln's head conceals a fascinating secret room.

The proud history of Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore, as many will know, immortalizes a quartet of the United States' most acclaimed presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. According to History, the mountain derives its name from Charles E. Rushmore, a lawyer from New York who was in the Black Hills National Forest to investigate recent gold findings in the region.

Gutzom Borglum was the sculptor eventually chosen for the project. With the support of President Calvin Coolidge (not to mention dynamite and powerful new equipment that was required to tackle a project of this size), the work started in October 1927 and was completed in the late 1930's.

These four painstakingly-crafted faces are, of course, a must see for travelers, and their stoic visages are part of the nation's very identity. They don't just speak of the country's proud past and present, however: Lincoln's head conceals a room dedicated to the future as well.

Who will eventually open the hallowed Hall of Records?

Per Black Hills Visitor Magazine, Borglum had originally intended to create a carving at the site, which would detail various events in the nation's history. The issue was that, owing to Mount Rushmore's location, getting super close is all but impossible, so nobody could have read it ... not without it being so big as to obscure those famous faces, anyway.

Borglum's proposed answer was the elaborate Hall of Records, a sort of museum where priceless Americana like the Declaration of Independence would be stored. The goal was to conserve valuable information and context for the memorial for future generations, but the Hall of Records was only in construction for around two years when Borglum died in 1941.

It wasn't until 1998, according to the National Park Service, that a less elaborate, more practical Hall of Records was created. This super secret chamber, which is not open to the public and which only very few have ever been privileged to see, houses 16 pieces of porcelain. On them is written the story of the project, its architect, and of the United States itself, along with the details of each man and why they were immortalized on the mountain.

The National Park Service quotes Borglum as saying, "you may 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."