Friday, September 15, 2017

Is Mount Rushmore Unfinished?

The original design for Mount Rushmore showed far more of the figures, as suggested by this preliminary maquette. 

I have digitally superimposed the actual carvings of the faces over the maquette. Susan B. Anthony was supposed to be included, too.

But by 1941, federal funding was cut back, and the sculptor, Danish-American Gutzon Borglum, died of a heart attack while the work was still being carved.

This video has aerial shots that show more of the setting.

(Link to video) Video by Smithsonian.

Read more about the design history of the monument at


David Apatoff said...

Thank goodness they stopped when they did. The sculptures today look stately and majestic in person largely because Borglum did not push them too far. Funding limitations and a heart attack did wonders for his legacy.

Compare Mt. Rushmore to the monstrous sculpture of Crazy Horse defacing a nearby mountain. The Crazy Horse team would've been aided by severe budget limitations.

EB Snook said...

My great grandfather knew and helped fund Borglum. Dad felt connected to this work because of his grandfather. Dad's short term memory was declining rapidly, but when he died a couple months ago, his memories around this were clear.

Luca said...

I'm sorry about your loss,EB. Condolences for your father. I noticed that thing with my mother's aunt too. She could not rememember things happened few minutes before but things happened 80 years before were coming back to her memory (for example she always talked about a place i never heard of. Years later i discovered tjat place existed but changed name in the 20s). It makes tou think that we never actually lose our past,it's always with us. Names, places...and people. :)

EB Snook said...

Thank you Luka.