Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore is a granite mountain a little more than a mile high, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The name comes from Charles E. Rushmore, a New York lawyer who went on a prospecting expedition to the area in 1885. He apparently did not think much of the Lakota name for the mountain, Six Grandfathers.

John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (or John Borglum) worked on turning Mount Rushmore into a memorial from 1927 to 1941. While technically never finished (the original plan was to show the presidents from head to waist), the memorial is now the top tourist attraction in South Dakota.

The 60 foot tall sculptures of four presidents were created to attract tourists to South Dakota. Construction began in 1927, with the first head completed in 1934 and the last in 1939. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
The 60 foot tall sculptures of four presidents were created to attract tourists to South Dakota. Construction began in 1927, with the first head completed in 1934 and the last in 1939. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
The original plan called for the sculptures to be depicted from head to waist, but funding ran out in October 1941, and the U.S. had other needs starting in December 1941. You can see the debris left from the "carving" on the sides of the mountain. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
The original plan called for the sculptures to be depicted from head to waist, but funding ran out in October 1941, and the U.S. had other needs starting in December 1941. You can see the debris left from the “carving” on the sides of the mountain. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
Sculptor Gutzon Borgium selected Mt. Rushmore for the quality of the granite, and the southeastern exposure provided the maximum sunlight both for construction and for viewing the memorial. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
Sculptor Gutzon Borgium selected Mt. Rushmore for the quality of the granite, and the southeastern exposure provided the maximum sunlight both for construction and for viewing the memorial. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
Borglum picked the four presidents because he felt they were the most significant in the first 130 years of U.S. history. Congress introduced a bill in 1937 to add Susan B. Anthony, but no funds were allocated for the effort. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
Borglum picked the four presidents because he felt they were the most significant in the first 130 years of U.S. history. Congress introduced a bill in 1937 to add Susan B. Anthony, but no funds were allocated for the effort. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
"Carving" the memorial inovlved dynamite and and "honeycombing" drilling, where holes are drilled close together to remove rock by hand. Roughly 450,000 tons of rock were blown off the mountain. Jefferson was supposed to be to the left of Washington, but that proved to be unsuitable so the work was blown off and redone on the right. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
“Carving” the memorial inovlved dynamite and and “honeycombing” drilling, where holes are drilled close together to remove rock by hand. Roughly 450,000 tons of rock were blown off the mountain. Jefferson was supposed to be to the left of Washington, but that proved to be unsuitable so the work was blown off and redone on the right. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
Coincidentally, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was taking place at this time. Sturgis is a small town north of Mt. Rushmore, and the rally has been held in August since 1938 (except during WWII), originally for riders of Indian motorcycles. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.
Coincidentally, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was taking place at this time. Sturgis is a small town north of Mt. Rushmore, and the rally has been held in August since 1938 (except during WWII), originally for riders of Indian motorcycles. Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota. Scanned from a transparency.

It is worth noting that Borglum was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and one of six Klan “knights” who served on the Imperial Koncilium. He was the designer of the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial at Stone Mountain, Georgia, which was in part funded by the KKK. Due to disagreements with the workers and organizers of the memorial, he left the project.