Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the completion of work on Mount Rushmore. From start to finish, the blasting and shaping of the colossal heads of four American presidents took 14 years to complete and cost less than $1 million.
Mount Rushmore was the dream of one man, Doane Robinson, and became the obsession of its sculptor, Gutzon Borglum. They determined that the huge heads should be carved into Mount Rushmore, and they obtained the support of President Calvin Coolidge and key members of Congress who helped make their dream a reality. They were capable of envisioning a memorial blasted into the face of a mountain and then figuring out how it could be done safely. (No one was killed during the construction, despite frequent use of dynamite and other explosives.)
The result is a classically American monument, a testament to American ingenuity and the product of people who dreamed big, bold dreams. But Mount Rushmore is more than an engineering feat, it is an artistic achievement as well. Americans who visit Mount Rushmore feels a sense of pride in the accomplishment and a patriotic stirring at the depiction of the four Presidents. If you’ve visited Mount Rushmore, you’ll know what I mean.