Borglum Day

Borglum (Gutzon) Day

August 10
On this day in 1927, sculptor John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum began carving the faces of four American presidents out of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He chose this site because of its smooth-grained granite and the way it dominated the surrounding terrain. It took 14 years to bring the mountain sculpture to its present appearance, but because of delays caused by lack of funds and bad weather, only six and a half years were actually spent in carving. Gutzon Borglum died before the national memorial could be completed, but his son, Lincoln, continued to work on the project until funds ran out in 1941. Since that time no additional carving has been done, nor is any further work planned other than maintenance of the memorial.
The four presidents whose faces emerge from the granite cliffs were chosen as symbols of the birth and growth of the United States during its first 150 years. George Washington signifies the struggle for independence and the birth of the republic, Thomas Jefferson the idea of representative government, Abraham Lincoln the permanent union of the States and equality for all citizens, and Theodore Roosevelt the 20th-century role of the U.S. in world affairs.
August 10 is observed at Mount Rushmore each year with patriotic music and speeches. The 50th anniversary celebration in 1991 included a formal dedication of the monument and a summer-long extravaganza featuring appearances by former presidents, television personalities, and famous South Dakotans.
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540
202-707-5000; fax: 202-707-2076
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
13000 Hwy. 244, Bldg. 31, Ste. 1
Keystone, SD 57751
605-574-2523; fax: 605-574-2307
Keystone Chamber of Commerce
110 Swanzey St.
P.O. Box 653
Keystone, SD 57751
800-456-3345 or 605-666-4896