Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Mt. Rushmore

Gutzon Borglum, a sculptor, was commissioned to create a carving of figures in a mountainside of noted western personalities Lewis & Clark, Buffalo Bill Cody, Chief Red Cloud and others. But Gutzon preferred carving the presidents so that the sculpture would be of national significance. He chose four presidents….George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Washington represented the birth of the country since he was the first president. Jefferson symbolized expansion since he was largely responsible for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Lincoln embodied the preservation of the union of states in confronting the challenges of the Civil War. Theodore Roosevelt represented the development of our country and the preservation of our natural resources as he was a great conservationist and environmentalist. Roosevelt, between Jefferson and Lincoln in the sculpture, would have loved being in the center. His daughter once said of her dad, “ He always wanted to be the center of attention, wherever he was. He wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.”

The sculpture took 14 years, between the years 1927 and 1941 to complete and cost $989,992.32. (That’s under one million bucks, folks. A bargain!!!) The faces are approximately 60 feet from chin to the top of the head. Each eye is 11 feet across. The noses are 20 feet long except Washington’s which is 21 feet.

No major injuries resulted from the project. 400 men worked on it and most of the sculpting was done with dynamite.

We viewed the sculpture at night. There is an amphitheater there now and at 9pm every night during the season, they have a lecture and a lighting of the monument.

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