Saturday, October 15, 2016

Carving Mount Rushmore took nearly 15 years (and was never actually finished)

c. 1936

A stone carver hangs on to Thomas Jefferson's eyelid.

Image: George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1923, looking to attract tourists and stimulate the economy of his state, South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson proposed creating a massive monument in the Black Hills. He envisioned a memorial to great heroes of the West, suggesting Lakota Sioux leader Red Cloud as a possibility.

The proposal was granted federal funding, and Robinson selected architect and sculptor Gutzon Borglum to design and carve the monument.

Borglum convinced Robinson that sculptures of presidents would attract more national interest than Red Cloud. Before settling on the final design of the monument, Borglum selected the stable granite cliffs of Mount Rushmore as the ideal location. Read more...

More about Native Americans, South Dakota, Monuments, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and History

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