Mount Rushmore is one of the great iconic examples of American ingenuity in our history. Along with the Panama Canal, the Empire State building, the Seattle Space Needle, Hoover Dam and the Bloomington Mall in Minnesota.
But Mt. Rushmore is unique in that it is both historical and artistic. It is a masterpiece.
Mt. Rushmore is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the city of Keystone. The mountain is mostly granite and was named after Charles E. Rushmore, a prominent New York lawyer, after he and friends were on a prospecting expedition in 1885.
South Dakota historian Duane Robinson is credited with the idea of carving famous people in the mountain to attract tourists to the area.
A long hassle involving Native Americans, Congressional delegates and President Calvin Coolidge’s approval was finally given by Congress and the carving was started in 1927, and ended in 1941 with no fatalities.
Gutson Borglum (Danish-American) made the final decision of Mt. Rushmore and the decision to make the national focus, rather than early western heroes like Lewis and Clark and Buffalo Bill Cody.
Upon Gutson’s death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction.
The location was originally called “Six Grandfathers” by the Lakota Sioux tribe.
In the construction 450,000 tons of rocks were moved; 400 workers assisted Borglum and the sculptors were 60 feet high.
The National Park Service took jurisdiction of Mt. Rushmore in 1933. The entire project cost $989,992.32. On October 15, 1966 Mt. Rushmore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012 there were 2,185,447 visitors to the mountain.
George Washington’s (1732-1799) face was dedicated on July 4, 1934. The face of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was dedicated in 1936. The face of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was dedicated on September 17, 1937. The face of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was dedicated in 1939.
The historical accomplishments of the four honored Presidents are well known. Washington is called “the father of our country.” However, our first President led the colonial forces to victory in the Revolutionary War. He refused to serve more than two terms.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and started the University of Virginia. Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address, freed the slaves and was assassinated. Theodore Roosevelt broke up the business monopolies and was the 26th President.
However, there are several interesting facts about the four Presidents that are not commonly known.
George Washington -In his teens traveled to Barbados and through his half-brother he was friends with the British Admiral Vernon. The brother served under him.
Washington was the victim of chickenpox. On the dollar bill, notice the right side of his face for pock marks.
He was elected President unanimously. He never attended college and was an Episcopalian.
Thomas Jefferson -was the third President. He was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. He was an architect, a lawyer, a farmer, an unusually excellent violinist and author.
He was also a biblical scholar, and composed a New Testament without the miracles of Jesus. For many years a copy was given to each new Congressman.
Jefferson never vetoed a bill and was described by his peers as a terrible speaker. He was a shabby dresser. Extremely intelligent, he was always in debt.
Abraham Lincoln -He was our tallest President-6 feet 4 inches. By the way, James Madison was the shortest-5 feet 4 inches.
Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He often was pictured with a stovepipe hat-it resembled a length of pipe. He utilized it to store and carry notes, letters, bills and important documents.
He has no living heirs. Three of his four sons died before their 20th birthdays. He often described himself as being spiritual but not religious.
Theodore Roosevelt -He was the fifth cousin removed of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Also the uncle of Eleanor and gave her away to F.D.R. at their wedding.
In 1906 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and was also the first President to visit a foreign country while President. He traveled to Panama.
Get this. He often would go skinny-dipping in the Potomac River during the wintertime.
A few years ago Stella and I visited Mount Rushmore and were overwhelmed with its awesomeness and beauty. There is a large cafeteria in front of it-about the distance of a football field. The scars on Washington’s face are clear.
If you haven’t been there, please do; you won’t regret it.
Amen. Selah. So be it.