Towering over the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore was the vision of Gutzon Borglum, a combative and fiercely talented young sculptor. To elicit public support for his dream, Borglum whipped American patriotism into a frenzy, finally securing the financing he needed to embark on the creation of his awe-inspiring monument. Over the course of 15 years, 350 men poured their sweat into Borglum’s vision, using drills and explosives to chisel Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt into the massive granite cliff. Here is the controversial history of this unorthodox masterpiece, including the remarkable design specifications, the tragedies and setbacks that marred its construction, and the awe it inspires to this day.
Archive for February, 1996
The year was 1869 and America had just completed the greatest building achievement in its history–the Transcontinental Railroad. A thin ribbon of steel and wood now connected East and West. But the fledgling country now faced an even greater challenge–how to harness the awesome potential of the railroad to tame the still wide-open and wild West.