A biography of Mount Rushmore.

Mount Rushmore: A Mountain Becomes a Monument

by: Benjamin Goldstein 

This Book is dedicated to Mrs.Jones and Mrs.Mancuso because they helped me research and put my ebook together.

Mount Rushmore: A Mountain Becomes a Monument

by: Benjamin Goldstein

Ben Goldstein 

New York Today

   

87 years ago construction started on Mount Rushmore. It was going to cost almost one million dollars even though it was during the Great Depression. But somehow, with aid from congressmen and senators, they managed to raise enough money for construction to occur. Although every year, the project would run out of money and have to shut down for weeks at a time. This is a story about the journey that the workers had to take to complete Mount Rushmore.

 I am shocked at how much different Mount Rushmore actually is than when it was first conceived by Doane Robinson. He wanted to carve western figures into a mountain to create an attraction that would lure more visitors to his state. When Gutzon Borglum went to South Dakota, he changed many things about the original idea. Borglum changed the location and what would be carved into the mountain.

I am amazed at how a thought of a carving was turned into a reality and was completely different than when it was first imagined. I hope that one day you will visit Mount Rushmore. Also, I hope you learn a plethora of information from this book. Have fun reading!

The historian of South Dakota wanted to create a structure. He wanted to build something that would attract more people to this state. He wanted a monument that would fascinate tourists and make them come and look in awe at an interesting mountain. Doane Robinson wanted it to be in the Black Hills where the needles were.

He wrote a letter to Gutzon Borglum, a well known architect. Gutzon Borglum at the time, was working on a statue of a confederate general Robert E Lee in Georgia. Borglum got fired from the project a little after the showing of this carving. He accepted the request from Robinson and went out to meet him.

Doane Robinson took Borglum to the original location where he wanted the carving to be, the Needles. Robinson wanted great western figures to be sculpted into the mountain like Buffalo Bill. Gutzon Borglum did not like that idea because he thought it would be too regional and he wanted something that would stand out to people from all around the globe. All in all, it is incredible to realize that Mount Rushmore may never had existed.

 

Doane Robinson 

South Dakota 

October 19, 1856- November 27, 1946

Gutzon Borglum was a well known architect particularly famous for his work on Mount Rushmore. He was working on a statue of Robert E Lee when he received a letter. This letter was from Doane Robinson asking if he wanted to come up to South Dakota and visit. Borglum accepted.

When Gutzon Borglum went to South Dakota, Doane Robinson took him to his preferred choice of placement of the carving. Borglum denied that location because it “wasn’t fit enough for a structure and because it wouldn’t look good in that tone of light.” Also, Borglum changed what he thought should be sculpted in the mountain. He claimed that it shouldn’t be famous western characters but something to represent the first 150 years of America. Thus, Borglum changed western figures to four important presidents. Chose Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson.

After they left the Needles, Borglum set off to hunt for the perfect mountain. Eventually, he found the right mountain and it was called Mount Rushmore (named after a lawyer who had visited this location in the 1800’s.) Also, Gutzon liked this area because of the light. He said that people would be able to see it a lot better than if it were at the needles.  

When the construction started there had to be a way to fund the project. Borglum stated that many important businessmen would donate large sums of money but that didn’t go as planned. He convinced congress to fund part of the cost but also had financial help from other business people. Eventually, he convinced congress to sponsor the whole project but only accepted half of it because he thought it would be easy to acquire the rest of the needed money. After getting 989,992.32 dollars the project was finally able to begin.

 

Gutzon Borglum 

South Dakota

March 25, 1867- March 6, 1941

At this point I don't want to knock a big chunk out, like I did yesterday, at the end of the day and have to file it down. So, I'm just having to take it really slow and careful."

-Gutzon Borglum

John Boland was a key contributor in the funding for the establishment of Mount Rushmore. He came to Rapid City, South Dakota because his general store burnt down. Also, when he moved to Rapid City, he bought the Rapid City Implement Company. He then became the manager/ president of this corporation.

First, he helped raise a large amount of money for the project. He made sure that all of the bills were being paid along with the raising of the money. He started working with the project in 1928 one year after construction began. Boland was a huge help with this project.

Without boland this project may have never commenced. This is because he raised so much of the money needed to start construction that he was very important. Without Boland, all of the bills may not have been payed for and the site could’ve been shut down.

 John Boland

South Dakota

May 2, 1884- October 9, 1958

Lincoln Borglum was the co architect of Mount Rushmore. He was the son of Gutzon Borglum. When he was 12, his father received a letter asking to visit the Black Hills. When Gutzon Borglum accepted they went to South Dakota to visit Doane Robinson.

When construction started in 1927 Lincoln Borglum was only a young teen. Although he was young, he still had an important job with this project. He was a pointer and he worked without pay for many years. In 1935, Lincoln Borglum became the chief pointer as a full time job.  In 1938, he became the superintendent of the whole project.

Lincoln Borglum had many strong ideas for this project and many people on this task appreciated his ideas. When his father died on March 25, 1941, he became the first national park superintendent. Also, he took on the rest of the project. This meant that until Mount Rushmore was finally completed he was the leader of the job. He finished up this monument and kept everything the way that Gutzon Borglum wanted it.

 Lincoln Borglum

April 9, 1912- January 27, 1986

Julian Spotts was an important person during the construction of Rushmore. He came to the site in 1933. He worked with the Borglum’s after President Roosevelt signed executive order 6166. This law meant that the National Park Service would be in charge of the project from then on.

There was a machine called a tram that traveled to the top of Mount Rushmore and back to the bottom. Spotts improved the service of that tram therefore, workers were able to get where they needed quicker and safer. This was very helpful because workers wouldn’t have to climb hundreds of stairs everyday to work. Also, they would be able to get to different areas of the mountain more easily.

Julian Spotts became the supervisor of the project. He improved the infrastructure of the work. This meant that he made the way that the building went much smoother. Without him, Mount Rushmore may have been much more of a challenge to complete.



Peter Norbeck

August 27, 1870- December 20, 1936

Peter Norbeck was born in Clay County, South Dakota as the child of Norwegian immigrants. Throughout his life, he tackled many important jobs. One of his jobs was a well driller. Another job was the lieutenant governor of South Dakota along with the regular governor of South Dakota. Lastly, he was a U.S. Senator and was re-elected twice.

Peter Norbeck was a great patron of Mount Rushmore, meaning he was a very big help to the project financially. He helped to raise almost one million dollars for Mount Rushmore.  He helped extremely when it came to the construction of Mount Rushmore. Norbeck helped convince congress to allow the construction to occur. Peter Norbeck got lots of money although it was the Great Depression. Peter Norbeck was a huge financial edition to Mount Rushmore.

One of Norbeck’s quotes from when he was a senator is “Nearly everybody in Washington spends 100 to 110 percent of what they can earn.” This means that many people could be very generous and help out. He was very helpful in turning this thought into an actual landmark. Without Peter Norbeck, Mount Rushmore might have not had enough money to continue, causing construction to never have finished.

 

Julian Spotts 

 

Peter Norbeck was born in Clay County, South Dakota as the child of Norwegian immigrants. Throughout his life, he tackled many important jobs. One of his jobs was a well driller. Another job was the lieutenant governor of South Dakota along with the regular governor of South Dakota. Lastly, he was a U.S. Senator and was re-elected twice.

Peter Norbeck was a great patron of Mount Rushmore, meaning he was a very big help to the project financially. He helped to raise almost one million dollars for Mount Rushmore.  He helped extremely when it came to the construction of Mount Rushmore. Norbeck helped convince congress to allow the construction to occur. Peter Norbeck got lots of money although it was the Great Depression. Peter Norbeck was a huge financial edition to Mount Rushmore.

One of Norbeck’s quotes from when he was a senator is “Nearly everybody in Washington spends 100 to 110 percent of what they can earn.” This means that many people could be very generous and help out. He was very helpful in turning this thought into an actual landmark. Without Peter Norbeck, Mount Rushmore might have not had enough money to continue, causing construction to never have finished.

 

Peter Norbeck

August 27, 1870- December 20, 1936

The Keystone Boys were a group of men that worked on Mount Rushmore. Although they were a very helpful addition to the project, Borglum did not like them all too much. Gutzon Borglum claimed that they didn’t know how to carve a mountain.  Once he started to see their carving abilities he would start to change his mind.

Borglum had very good assistants but the people that he suspected of not being able to carve a mountain were very good too. The Keystone Boys often spent their weekends drunk on moonshine, fighting, and playing baseball. Although they spent their free time in uncommon ways, they were still incredible workers. Also, Borglum still respected the Keystone Boys even though he didn’t like them.

One way that the Keystone Boys increased in employees was that Merle Peterson (one of Gutzon Borglum’s assistants) would hire baseball players to work on the mountains. Mount Rushmore has a baseball team and this was a way that they met many people.  Working on the mountain was very hard work but these workers still managed to have their fun. They would often play tricks and pranks on each other. As a way to have a good time and joke around.  Some of these pranks could’ve been very dangerous or even fatal.

One prank that they would play, would be to let the new employee’s cable fall a few feet while they were working. There has been accidents when this prank was performed but luckily no deaths. Another heart-stopping event that happened was the cable that men were using to travel throughout the worksite, broke. A person was pulling at the brake as an attempt to slow it down but that only made it worse and it broke off. After that, it started uncontrollably fast and a few people got bumped around but only one person had to go to the hospital. As a relief, that worker eventually made a full recovery.

 

The Keystone Boys

The Black Hills used to be native to the Lakota Sioux Indians. This tribe lived there before many settlers came and stripped them of their land. The settlers still managed to invade their territory even though the Treaty of 1868 promised that it belonged to the Native Americans.This space included the Black Hills. When gold was discovered there in the 1870’s, the Sioux were forced to give up their part of the Black Hills which was very unfair.

 Many white men and women saw how poorly that the Indians were being treated including Ulysses S. Grant. He spoke out for many Native Americans stating that they deserve civilization and education. Many people agreed with Ulysses S. Grant. The Indians saw it a different way though.

The Sioux Native Americans thought that conflict was the way to regain their rights. In South Dakota, the Indian chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse lead them to war against the U.S. army and they were victorious. They beat General George Armstrong Custer. The final major Indian defeat site was in South Dakota was at the Battle of Wounded Knee. At this fight, many unarmed Lakota Sioux adolescents and adults were murdered.

The part of Mount Rushmore where they fought George Armstrong Custer became Custer State Park but the rest of the land is part of Black Hills National Forest. This monument is actually considered to be insulting to the Sioux Indians. One reason that this is an insult is because it was built on what was supposed to be their land. Another reason is that the Black Hills are considered sacred ground. Lastly, it is a structure emphasizing Europeans that slaughtered many Indians and stole their land.

 

The Lakota Sioux Indians

William Andrew Burkett heard that Gutzon Borglum joined a newspaper. Also, he learned that there was going to be a chance to win a contest and get your inscription carved into the mountain. He went ahead and created an essay. Incredibly, Burkett turned out to be one of the few lucky winners.

Burkett won a four year college scholarship. He then moved to California. William Andrew Burkett became very successful in the business industry. He then gave all of the credit to earning his fortune to the competition.

Burkett chose to be buried right near Rushmore. When he finally died, he had his essay erected on Mount Rushmore in stone. It was written on a bronze tablet. William Andrew Burkett was a lucky person to have his writing piece inscribed on a famous national monument.

William Andrew Burkett

July, 15 1913- November 12, 1999

William Williamson was a key contributor when it came to the financial aspect of Mount Rushmore. He had a similar job as Peter Norbeck did. For example, they both raised lots of money for the project to take place.   

William Williamson was the one who convinced President Calvin Coolidge to take a vacation at the Black Hills. After he got there, Gutzon Borglum invited Coolidge to a party which he accepted. At the party, he performed an important speech explaining that congress would fund the cost of the project. This meant that Mount Rushmore could finally begin because they had enough money.

William Williamson was a member of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Society. This was created by the legislation during the year 1929. He served as a secretary, vice president, and president of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Society. Without William Williamson, congress wouldn’t have promised full funding and construction would never have been able to occur.



William Williamson

October 7, 1875- July 17, 1972

 

 

 MOUNT RUSHMORE: 

             Cost $989,992.32

Took 400 men to carve

No one died in construction

90% was carved using dynamite

Six story high faces (60 feet)

Gets about 3,000,000 visitors per year

450,000 tons of rock blown away from the dynamite (800,000,000 pounds of rock)

Noses on the presidents are 20 feet tall

George Washington's nose is 21 feet tall

    The eyes on the presidents are 11 feet long

    The mouth on the presidents are 18 feet tall

    5,500 feet above sea level

    Workers had to climb 506 steps before they made a machine to carry you from place to place

    The heads of the presidents from hair to chin is the size of the Great Sphinx



Mount Rushmore Statistics

Calvin Coolidge the president at the time of the construction of Mount Rushmore said while inagurating it, "We have come here to dedicate a cornerstone that was laid by the hand of the Almighty. On this towering wall of Rushmore, in the heart of the Black Hills, is to be inscribed a memorial which will represent some of the outstanding features of four of our Presidents, laid on by the hand of a great artist in sculpture. This memorial will crown the height of land between the Rocky Mountains and the Atlantic Seaboard, where coming generations may view it for all time."

I hope that you enjoyed reading this story. Also I hope that from reading this you have changed your mind if you didn't want to visit Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore is a very interesting and historical site and I think that I have taught you lots of information about it and what it stands for.

Ben Goldstein 

New York Today

 Mount Rushmore was built as a memorial for four key presidents. The presidents included were Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Washington. After 14 years of construction this monument was completed. It included work from many important people like the Keystone Boys and Gutzon Borglum. They created a wonderful monument together.

Blurb

About the author

I am a sixth grader who lives and goes to school in Wesctchester county. My hobbies are playing basketball and baseball. I also enjoy eating japanese food and chicken wings.