For Christmas, my wife got me the book, Stuff Every American Should Know, by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese, published by Quirk Books in 2012. One chapter explains where Mount Rushmore came from.
South Dakota's official historian, Doane Robinson, came up with the idea of carving faces into a mountainside in 1923 as a way to spur tourism to the state.
Sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, selected the site, designed the monument, and even chose the presidents.
From 1927 until he died in 1941, Borglum dynamited and shaped the mountain's granite to form the 60-foot faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln Borglum continued his father's work until the project ran out of money later that same year.
This is a feat never to be repeated. The Black Hills of South Dakota are sacred to Native Americans and would never be selected today. Furthermore, trying to whittle down 46 presidents to just four would result in endless committee meetings and partisan battles.
This book (available on Amazon) has many fascinating tidbits. I have shared just a few in blog posts that I hope you have enjoyed. I recommend this book.
American history is alive in the lab.