Mount Rushmore History

You might ask yourself why these four presidents were chosen, we have the answer for you. Click to read more about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt & Abraham Lincoln.

Learn more about the life of Gutzon Borglum and his other works. Lincoln Borglum was his father's right hand man and unsung hero of this project.

Mount Rushmore is a project of colossal proportion, colossal ambition and colossal achievement. It involved the efforts of nearly 400 men and women. The duties involved varied greatly from the call boy to drillers to the blacksmith to the housekeepers. Some of the workers at Mount Rushmore were interviewed, and were asked, "What is it you do here?" One of the workers responded and said, "I run a jackhammer." Another worker responded to the same question, " I earn $8.00 a day." However, a third worker said, "I am helping to create a memorial." The third worker had an idea of what they were trying to accomplish.

Getting this project underway was a challenge all by itself. Once Doane Robinson and others had found a sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, they had to get permission to do the carving. Senator Peter Norbeck and Congressman William Williamson were instrumental in getting the legislation passed to allow the carving. Williamson drafted two bills, one each to be introduced in the United States Congress and the South Dakota Legislature. The bill requesting permission to use federal land for the memorial easily passed through Congress. The bill sent to the South Dakota Legislature faced more opposition. The Mount Harney National Memorial bill was defeated twice before narrowly passing. Governor Gunderson signed the bill on March 5, 1925, and established the Mount Harney Memorial Association later that summer.