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.
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.
Long But Efficient
There were several people working on the monument but the Italian immigrant Luigi Del Blanco was chosen to be Chief Carver for the monument. This man was known for his amazing ability to show emotions and personality in his carvings. To be able to do that in these stones is truly a masterful work of art that most people could not even dream of achieving. To carve these faces, he was going to have to use dynamites and follow a process popularly known as honeycombing.
Gutzon Borglum’s Secret Addition
The problems faced due to a shortage of funds put a halt on the monuments original plans. But then the United States government authorized Gutzon Borglum’s special addition. So within the years 1938 and 1939, a 70-foot tunnel behind Abraham Lincoln’s head had been carved on the mountain. This, according to the great sculptor Borglum, would serve as the entrance of what would be referred to as “The Hall of Records at Mount Rushmore.”
A Dream Cut Short
The initial plan for the idea of the Hall of Records was for it to serve as a time capsule. Gutzon Borglum’s plan was to let the future generations walk through the entrance and get to learn more and experience the history of the United States and all that it has achieved. But sadly, Borglum passed in the year 1941 before the entire monument could be finished. His son Lincoln began taking his role to oversee the remaining work that needed to be done to complete the site.
The Hall Was Eventually Completed
Even though Gutzon Borglum’s original plans for the Hall of Records seemed to vanish with him in 1941, his dream did not die out. So on August 8, 1998, the tunnel was commemorated to a smaller Hall of Records than planned. This was far from the amazing plans that Gutzon had, but at least it was not completely written off. A repository of records was also kept in the entry of the hall. It was kept on a teakwood box inside a titanium vault and covered by a granite capstone.
Gutzon Borglum Still Got His Records
So in the vault and box, sixteen porcelain panels had been kept. On the panels, the story of Mount Rushmore’s creation was written. There was also writings about the person who carved it, and the reason behind each of the presidents being there too. The panels also consist of a short history of the United States for anyone who discovers it, to know a little more about the country’s past and achievements. There is also an engraving of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Mount Rushmore Today
By the end of the 1980s, a project was started to let deserving people get the full experience of what the monument has to offer. This project further resulted in the improvement of the visitor facilities, sidewalks, and other infrastructure that were present in and around the monument. This included the Mount Rushmore Visitors Plaza, Lincoln Borglum Museum, and the Presidential trail. The Presidential Trail gives visitors a chance to walk under the whole monument. All of these helped in making Mount Rushmore become South Dakota’s biggest tourist attraction. It also made the site one of the nation’s proudest monuments. there are a lot of activities that one could do on Mount Rushmore.