(John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum)
Born March 25, 1867 – Died March 6, 1941
His birthplace was Idaho. California first taught him art. Then France, who first gave him fame. England welcomed him. America called him home. His genius for the exquisite as for the colossal gave permanence on canvas, in bronze, in marble, to moods of beauty or passion, to figures of legend and history. Nations, cities, colleges paid him tribute. As a patriot he stripped corruption bare. As a statesman he toiled for equality in the rights of man. At last he carved a mountain for a monument. He made the monument chant: "Remember! These giant souls set America free and kept her free. Hold fast you sacred heritage, Americans! Remember! Remember!"
The first actual carving was begun in 1927. The Washington head was dedicated in 1931, representing the founding of our government; the Jefferson in 1936 for the man who made our first great expansion west with the Louisiana Purchase; Lincoln in 1937 for his preservation of the Union; the final head, Roosevelt, in 1939, for the completion of the Panama Canal.
Borglum said, "I want somewhere in America a memory of the great things we accomplished as a nation, placed so high it won't pay to pull it down for lesser purposes."
The project was nearly completed in 1941 when Borglum died. Mount Rushmore was completed in 1941 by his son Lincoln with the final drilling done October 31, 1941.
ERECTED 1973 BY THE S.D. DEPT. OF HIGHWAYS, STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND THE MT. RUSHMORE MEMORIAL SOCIETY
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