PIERRE, S.D. – Gutzon Borglum (John Gutzon Borglum) is most notably known in South Dakota as the man who directed the carving of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. While making his mark both on South Dakota history and the visitor industry, he was known for other artistic works as well.
Before coming to South Dakota in 1925, Borglum studied art around the world. He spent three years in Paris, two years in California and six years in England before opening an art studio in New York.
Five years later, Borglum was commissioned to carve Stone Mountain in Georgia into the likeness of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. After preliminary work, Borglum left that task and went to South Dakota to work on the Mount Rushmore mountain carving.
Once a decision was made on which presidents would be honored on Mount Rushmore, the faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt were sculpted on the granite mountain.
Borglum’s project in the heart of the Black Hills was dedicated in 1927 by President Calvin Coolidge.
“We have come here to dedicate a cornerstone that was laid by the hand of the Almighty,” Coolidge said. “The union of these four presidents carved on the face of the everlasting hills of South Dakota will constitute a distinctly national monument. It will be decidedly American in its conception, in its magnitude, in its meaning, and altogether worthy of our country.”
It took 14 years to sculpt Mount Rushmore.
South Dakota’s Great Faces weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight those who have had a significant impact on South Dakota, particularly within the visitor industry. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Faces” link at www.MediaSD.com
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Information for this release was obtained from the South Dakota Hall of Fame Web site.
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons