The idea was conceived by the historian Robinson, who originally planned to carve the likenesses of local Native American chiefs and heroes. Robinson invited the sculptor John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, but the latter did not like the idea with the likenesses of Native Americans. The experienced sculptor came up with a different concept: the carve busts of four American Presidents.
After a long and fruitless search, Borglum decided to immortalize the pillars of American democracy in the granite of Mount Rushmore. It is believed that the choice was predetermined by the orientation of the mountain: it faces the southwest, which means that the Presidents are illuminated by the sun throughout the day. Mount Rushmore is named after an American businessman who once visited the area with an expedition, and is located in the Badlands National Park, an exceedingly unfair name of the beauty of the place.
Three hundred and sixty stone carvers from the area set to work. Dynamite, chisels and hammers, along with a unique brand of energy and boldness of the sculptor, accompanied by nearly a million dollars, most of the sum allocated by the American treasury, and back-breaking and dangerous work of the sculptor's assistants and workers are what makes up this monument. To the credit of the project managers, no serious injuries, not to mention more serious accidents, were registered during the construction. And even though the process was plagued by difficulties, the weather wasn't always favorable, and money was allocated in small sums and after much effort, in 1930 the head of George Washington was completed. Thomas Jefferson was completed in 1936, Abraham Lincoln in 1937, and the head of Theodore Roosevelt was completed in 1939. And what about other body parts that are supposed to be present in a bust? The work on them never began – the plan was to start with the main part and see how circumstances develop.
Time proved that the decision was right: in 1941, Borglum passed away. His son Lincoln tried to continue his father's work, but the money ran out, this time for good: the World War left no hope that the funding would resume.
Who knows if the Mount Rushmore monument would have been better if the sculptor managed to carve everything he had planned out of granite? It does not look unfinished, on the contrary, when you look at it, what you feel is complete harmony, it is perfect the way it is, just like a true masterpiece.
It would be unimaginable for the famous Monument to be overlooked by the filmmakers. There is no need to imagine that: anyone who has seen the film North by Northwest by Alfred Hitchcock surely remember the scene where the characters climb on the faces of the sculptures. Not counting moviegoers, the monument is admired by an average of two million tourists a year.