This week marks the 93rd anniversary of the beginning of the construction of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota. We should go there to mark this historic occasion. We do need to take our list of the things we should avoid doing so that we will not inadvertently put a tear in the time continuum. Let’s all get on board and get ready for an exciting trip.
Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Start of Construction of Mount Rushmore in 1927 by John W. Howell
10 If you go, do not stand under the ‘falling rocks’ sign. If you do, at best, the dynamite process has not started yet. At worst, you will need to get a very hard hat. (Just like a tourist, Marton. You see a sign that says not to do something, and you do it. Hope that boulder heading your way is a close miss and not a direct hit.
9 If you go, do not accompany Tiny, the WWF champ, as he climbs to the top of the Black Hills. If you do, at best, you both will make it safely. At worst, Tiny, who has a severe case of agoraphobia, might panic at any moment. (The sad thing is, Marylu when Tiny panics, he tends to throw things off of high places. Now that I mentioned that, it looks like he has changed and is now prepared to throw people off high places. Hope the landing is gentle.
8 If you go, do not tell Sculptor Gutzon Borglum that you think the figures on the mountain should be Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. If you do, at best, he won’t hear you. At worst, he will offer you a ride in a handbasket to the top. (You see, Massimo, Borglum wanted to have Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, Oglala Lakota chief Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Oglala Lakota chief Crazy Horse. He was overruled by South Dakota historian Doane Robinson who thought up the idea.)
7 If you go, do not ask Gutzon when he thinks the project will be finished. If you do, At best, he’ll walk away. At worst, he will sit you down and describe in detail what needs to be done. (The project started in 1927, Mateus and was halted in October 1941 after funds ran out. Gutzon Borglum died of an embolism in March 1941. His son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the project until it was halted.)
6 If you go, do not mention to Gutzon that only the heads of the figures would be depicted on the mountain. If you do, at best, Gutzon will think you are joking. At worst, you will get into an argument with Gutzon. (The original plan called for the Presidents to be finished to the waist, Matias. When fining ran out, the work stopped. I see Gutzon is talking to some pretty big looking workers and pointing this way. You might want to get off the mountain under your own power.)
5 If you go, do not ask how much all this is going to cost. If you do, at best, no one will hear you. At worst, you will be overheard by Doane Robinson, the originator of the idea. (The matter of funding was turned over to a Congressional delegation and Calvin Coolidge. It was finally funded in 1925. Just for the record, Mats the whole thing cost $$989,992.32, which would be over $14 Million today)
4 If you go, do not only compliment Gutzon Borglum for the work going on. If you do, At best, none of the 400 workers will hear you. At worst. you will be overheard by Luigi del Bianco, the head carver. (Luigi did a lot of the work, Mattius. He Used dynamite and then a process called ‘honeycombing.’ This involved drilling holes spaced a short distance apart and then chipping the rock away. Luigi wants you to hold his pneumatic hammer for a minute. I wouldn’t if I were you.)
3 If you go, do not make bets about the amount of rock removed from the mountain. If you do, at best, no one will be interested. At worst, you have some takers. (Now the problem is how do you either collect winnings or pay losings, Maur. When the final tally is in, you may or may not be able to come back. I think the best thing s for you to stay until it is finished. I see a lot of the workers agree with me. By the way, the correct guess is 410,000 tons.)
2 If you go, do not try to measure the lights of the Presidents. If you do, at best you won’t find a way to do it. At worst, someone will give you a rope. (I thing dangling on the end of a rope with a tape measure is a little risky, Mauro. Maybe you should just get back to the top and forget it. The answer is sixty feet. There satisfied?)
1 If you go, do not ask Gutzon Borglum why the mountain is not named Borglum instead of Rushmore. If you do, at best, Gutzon will be busty planting dynamite. At worst, he’ll want you to light the fuse. (Mount Rushmore was named after wealthy investor Charles E. Rushmore who visited the area repeatedly in 1885, Maverick. It was made official in 1930 by The United States Board of Geographic Names. Goes to show not what you know but who. Of course, the name was originally Six Grandfathers given by the Lakota Sioux)