The mountain itself is named after Charles E. Rushmore, a New York lawyer investigating mining
claims in the Black Hills in 1885 and has nothing to do with the sculpture project which came
The project was designed by the sculptor John Gutzon Borglum, March 25, 1871 - March 6, 1941.
The monument was sculpted by Borglum and about 400 stone workers with the construction beginning
on August 10, 1927 (President Coolidge attended the dedication). Funding was provided by private
donations and the Federal Government.
The sculpting was done by first blasting away tons of rock with dynamite. Workers then sat in hanging
"swing seats," and used jackhammers, drills, hammers, and other tools to do the finishing work. Bad
weather and a lack of funding slowed work; although it took 14 years to finish the project, work was
done for only about 6 of those years.
After Borglum's death, soon before the sculpture was done, the completion of the giant sculpture was
overseen by his son, Lincoln Borglum. The monument was completed in 1941 (after Borglum's death).