I got to visit Mt. Rushmore last month, in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.
It was the idea of Doane Robinson, the founder of the South Dakota state historical society. Through support from Peter Norbeck, a U.S senator, it was eventually determined that it would be made a monument to our country, much like the Washington Monument or Lincoln Monument, except carved from a mountain. Gutzon Borglum and his crew blasted their way through the granite to carve the 4 presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
There was also to be a Hall of Records, because Borglum felt that a monument to our country should hold the history of our country. Alas, it was never completed (it was to be a stone vault behind the peak). But, there are now many interpretive exhibits at the memorial, recording the history of the monument, the history of our country, and the history of the presidents that grace the mountain.
"I want, somewhere in America on or near the Rockies, the backbone of the Continent, so far removed from succeeding, selfish, coveting civilizations, a few feet of stone that bears witness, carries, the likenesses, the dates, a word or two of the great things we accomplished as a Nation, placed so high it won't pay to pull down for lesser purposes.
Hence, let us place there, carved high, as close to heaven as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were. Then breathe a prayer that these records will endure until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away."
It was really a great place to visit.