If you have not heard of this monument, then you are probably living under a rock. Mount Rushmore is one of the most famous historical monuments not just in the United States but in the whole world. It is a United States National Monument located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The construction work of this historical landmark took place in 1927 and went on till October 1941. It consists of the facial sculpting of the four prominent United States Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
The main sculptor of the monument was Gutzon Borglum. He was responsible for designing and overseeing the whole project. While Mount Rushmore to some, may just look like a bunch of facial carvings on the surface of a mountain, but there is so much more to it. Borglum initially wanted this to be a secret project and wanted to keep it from the public’s knowledge. There have been a lot of speculations as to what these fours faces hold behind closed doors.
The Father of Mount Rushmore
Back in the year 1923, historian Doane Robinson, aka “The Father of Mount Rushmore,” was struck with a brilliant idea to get tourists to visit South Dakota. So in the year 1924, he met up with sculptor Gutzon Borglum. Borglum had helped in creating The Confederate Memorial Carving on Stone Mountain in Georgia.
Robinson told him about his idea of doing a similar project Black Hills of South Dakota, and Borlgum was in. Originally, the monument’s location was set to be in the Needles near Custer, South Dakota. The granite pillars turned out to be too thin so it was a no-go.
They were searching for a good place to finish their project in. After an intensive location scouting was done, they made a decision to set Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. As he looked at Mount Rushmore, Borglum even claimed that “America will march along that skyline.” Congress authorized the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission on March 3, 1925. It went on to be a celebrated monument that holds a sentimental value to many people.
The Original Intention
But you would be surprised to know that the carvings of these four famous presidents were not the original plan at all. In the beginning, the idea was to actually carve world famous people to attract visitors from all over the world. There were also talks of carving eventful incidents that took place in the history of American. Then, in the end, they made a choice to carve the faces of these iconic presidents which was ultimately very well received by the people.
Why These Presidents?
So even before the time came when Doane Robinson thought of the idea behind Mount Rushmore, the country had already had 29 presidents in its times as a country. So then a question pops up. Why did Gutzon Borglum decide to put just these four presidents and not the rest? The National Parks Service made a claim about this decision saying that all four were chosen because they each represent something about the United States.
George Washington would be a representation of the birth of the nation, Jefferson would be a sign of the country’s growth, Roosevelt serves as a representation of the development, and Abraham Lincoln would be a sign of the preservation of the union. Even though there were other presidents, Borglum felt as though these four held the essence of the United States. This was the main reason why these four iconic presidents made their way on the monument.