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The Mount Rushmore Monument is one of the greatest artistic endeavors in the history of the US. Located in Keystone, South Dakota, the monument was created in honor of the achievements of four of our past presidents. The monument serves as memento to the accomplishments, this great nation attained, from it's birth through the 20th century.
In 1923 historian Doane Robinson of South Dakota envisioned giant sculptures being carved on the face of The Black Hills. The hope was that it would bring visitors into the state.
In 1915 Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to sculpt a Confederate memorial on Stone Mountain in Georgia. Borglum had always dreamed of creating giant sculptures, like the ones produced by the ancient Egyptians. Something large in size and stature. In 1924 Borglum completed the first portion of the project, a giant head sculpture of Robert E. Lee, on the face of the mountain. Other sculptures were to follow. In 1925 Borglum had a disagreement with the patrons and left the project.
Borglum's work at Stone Mountain had gained much notoriety. Doane Robinson lobbied heavily for his National Monument project in South Dakota. In 1927 President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the Mount Rushmore Memorial and Gutzon Borglum was named the artist to complete the project.
Going from left to right, the first sculpture is of George Washington, leader of the Revolutionary forces, 1st President and "Father of our Country". The second sculpture is of Thomas Jefferson, author of "The Declaration of Independence" and 3rd President. The third sculpture is of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President, and he was instrumental in the construction of the Panama Canal. A conservationist, he helped preserve much of the land that makes up our National Forests and Parks. The fourth sculpture is of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President, and leader during the "Civil War". He helped preserve the Union, and put an end to slavery in the United States. The project continued for 14 years. In 1941 Gutzon Borglum died. His son Lincoln continued working on the monument and completed the unfinished portion on the heads. Later that year the United States became involved in "World War II".
The monument was never fully completed. The second photograph down on the left, is a plaster model created by Borglum, and depicts how Mt. Rushmore was to look upon completion. The cost of the project was about $1,000,000 US, a bargain by today's standards.
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