Monday, October 31, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 2115


Keystone, South Dakota (JFK+50) Seventy-five years ago today, October 31, 1941, the work on Mount Rushmore* ended and the iconic monument was opened to the public.

According to sculptor Gutzon Borgham**, the 4 POTUS he completed were chosen because they represent "the most important events in the history of the United States."  They are...

George Washington:  Father of Our Country, Hero of the American Revolution
Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, Louisiana Purchase
Theodore Roosevelt:  Economic Growth, Panama Canal
Abraham Lincoln:  Civil War, Preservation of the Union

Gutzon Borgium said...

"The Purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt."

According to Time Magazine's Lily Rothman, work on the project took 14 years with the sculptor climbing 700 steps every day to reach the top of the monument.

The Mount Rushmore Memorial was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 with individual presidential dedications to follow.
Washington (1930), Jefferson (1936) Lincoln (1937) and Roosevelt (1939).

In May 2016, the National Park Service, "finally recognized" artist Luigi Del Bianco's*** contribution to the monument.  Seventeen year old Del Bianco, of Naples, Italy, was hired by Gutzon Borgham iand in 1935, Del Bianco became Chief Carver.

*Mount Rushmore, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota & originally known as "Six Grandfathers" by the Sioux, was renamed after New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore in 1885.

**John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (1867-1941) was born in St. Charles, Idaho Territory.  He studied at the Julian Academy in Paris & was sculptor of Abraham Lincoln.  JGB worked on the Mount Rushmore project from 1927 to 1941.

***Luigi Del Bianco (1892-1969) was born near Le Havre, France & grew up in Meduno, Italy.  He studied stone carving in Vienna & Venice then immigrated to Vermont.  LDB returned to fight for Italy in WWI then returned to the US living in Port Chester, NY.  LDB went to work on Mt. Rushmore in 1933.


"American History, Alive In Stone," National Park Service,

"Mount Rushmore Is 75.  See Early Photos of the Monument Under Construction," by Lily Rothman,

"The Man Who Put Faces on Mount Rushmore," by Sam Roberts, The New York Times, June 29, 2016.

Mount Rushmore National Monument
Keystone, South Dakota