Friday, November 4, 2011


The man who moves a mountain, begins by carrying away small stones.


When a sculptor works with stone, he studies the different elements of the rock, its veins and graininess, before taking a first blow with his chisel.  Gutzon Borglum thought bigger.  On horseback, he scouted the area of Harney Peak in South Dakota, looking for a mountain big enough to support the figures of the sculpture he envisioned.

When he saw the granite peaks of Mount Rushmore, the tallest mountain in the region, with the sun hitting it just so, it was love. His mindset was that his portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (each six stories tall), like American history itself, would be magnificent and endure.

Construction began in 1927, and was completed in 1941, the year of Borglum's death. 400 workers cleared 800 million pounds of rock over the course of 14 years, fulfilling a preposterous idea by
one impassioned dreamer.

Before and after

The original design was more fully rendered. 
Lack of funding determined the completion date.

Ninety percent of the monument was created using dynamite. 
No one died during construction.

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