What was Mount Rushmore originally supposed to be?
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered on a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills near Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the sculpture's design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum. The sculpture features the 60-foot (18 m) heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, as recommended by Borglum. The four Presidents were chosen to represent the nation's birth, growth, development, and preservation, respectively.
South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of noted figures into the mountains of the Black Hills of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. He had originally envisioned a sculpture memorializing figures of the American West, such as the explorers Lewis and Clark or the Oglala Lakota leader Red Cloud. But the sculptor who was ultimately chosen for the project, Gutzon Borglum, settled on a concept to pay tribute to four former Presidents.