Mount Rushmore   View more episodes

Aired at 06:01 AM on Monday, Jul 27, 2009 (7/27/2009)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00Imagination of the world.
00:00:34Mount rushmore, one of the world's greatest modern marvels, an astounding monument to the visionaries of a young nation, an attempt to forge a new national identity, a tribute to democracy carved out of solid granite by a man as energetic and contentious as the country he loved.
00:01:14After four long years of fighting, world war I ended.
00:01:19IN THE 1920s, WITH THE RETURN Of american troops, came a national exuberance, a joyous jazz spirit that seemed to encourage expansive, uninhibited behavior.
00:01:30After all, we had won a war.
00:01:32We could do anything.
00:01:35It was time to celebrate.
00:01:38We embraced great heroes and great hooligans.
00:01:42There were those who would legislate morality and those who would throw caution to the wind to reach dizzying new heights.
00:01:51No one could predict the great depression that was only a few years away.
00:01:57American industry was retooling from a war economy to accommodate a rapidly growing consumer market.
00:02:03Mass production made new products available and affordable, particularly automobiles.
00:02:09Henry ford was grinding them out at a rate of nearly 22,000 a year.
00:02:14The new american middle class was riding to work and turning the traditional family vacation into a great adventure on the road.
00:02:22The moneymaking potential of this was not lost on doane robinson, 67-year-old state historian and poet laureate of south dakota.
00:02:31He longed to introduce people to the beauty of his state.
00:02:34But how do you convince tourists to drive for days on primitive highways to visit a forsaken corner of a largely undeveloped wilderness?
00:02:44Robinson claimed he had an illuminating flash, an inspiration to distinguish south dakota with a roadside attraction so unique that tourists would be compelled to visit.
00:02:56>> He thought what would be great is if they'd carve some western folk heroes: Chief red cloud, kit carson, other folk heroes.
00:03:03If they could carve those in the black hills, in the needles district, that tourists would come from miles to see them.
00:03:09>> narrator: THE NEEDLES Are ancient stone structures, the eroded stubs of granite mountains.
00:03:15There are literally thousands of them in the black hills.
00:03:18They are rough, uneven, and impossible to carve.
00:03:22But that was not enough to deter doane robinson.
00:03:25All he really needed, he felt, was an artist who loved a challenge.
00:03:30That man was gutzon borglum, a renowned stone sculptor.
00:03:36>> Shaff: Gutzon was always looking for new worlds to conquer.
00:03:40Gutzon believed that he was the best artist who ever existed.
00:03:46>> narrator: BORGLUM ENJOYED Working on an exaggerated scale.
00:03:50He once lamented there was no monument in america as big as the nation's spirit.
00:03:56He had done big work.
00:03:58He had designed a mountain carving in 1915 at a georgia site called stone mountain.
00:04:03Now south dakota offered borglum a new challenge.
00:04:08>> The rapid city commercial club had backed robinson's concept--basically, said to borglum, "hey, find a mountain, pick a subject, go to work.
00:04:17" >> narrator: IN 1925, With a frontier guide and his son, lincoln, borglum explored the black hills for a carving site that would suggest a theme big enough for his bombastic reputation.
00:04:33He found both at mount rushmore, where he envisioned the ultimate american monument.
00:04:39Unlike the needles, mount rushmore was solid granite.
00:04:43Even though the rock was riddled with minute cracks, borglum became fixated on the site.
00:04:48"Here is the place," he declared.
00:04:51"American history shall march " he and his men quickly scaled the peak and claimed the site as a national monument.
00:04:59He had no authority to do that, but that didn't stop him.
00:05:06It was here gutzon borglum would labor for the next 16 years before he would die trying to make his dream come true.
00:05:15He would revise his designs nine times, remove a half a million tons of rock, and provoke some of the wildest political battles of the age.
00:05:35Like the america he loved, gutzon borglum came from hardy danish mormons seeking the new jerusalem in the barren wastes of utah.
00:05:46Much of his early work glorified the female form: His femaleatlas andconception.
00:05:56As his work brought him recognition, he moved into the world of the rich and powerful and carefully cultivated extraordinary friends: The wright brothers.
00:06:10He served as a timer on their early flights.
00:06:13He campaigned for his friend teddy roosevelt's bull moose party.
00:06:17He wrote social and political tracts that provoked outrage, satisfying his appetite for confrontation.
00:06:24And in 1923, he even worked on a national committee trying to elect a ku klux klan grand dragon to the white house.
00:06:32>> Shaff: He got into the ku klux klan because he saw it as a grassroots movement.
00:06:36They were a national organization.
00:06:39They had hundreds of thousands of members, and so, for him, he was not really part of some kind of lunatic fringe group.
00:06:49But he really thought that the klan could be worked into an organization that would elect a president without the power bosses.
00:07:00>> narrator: BORGLUM'S CRUSADES Reflected his approach to art.
00:07:03He insisted on working in monumental scale and on mythic characters.
00:07:08>> You were separated in those days by whether you did or did not do a lincoln.
00:07:12All of the lincoln artists were people on another level.
00:07:17It was the big leagues.
00:07:18He named his son lincoln, so he could write the committees and say, "remember, " and he, of course, has done three of the best lincolns-- acknowledged the best lincolns-- the one on mount rushmore, the seated lincoln in newark, new jersey, and the lincoln portrait that's in the capitol building and on the grave in springfield.
00:07:40>> narrator: IT WAS IRONIC, Then, that his biggest commission was the one in 1915, the attempt to make the south rise again through a mammoth tribute to the confederacy: Stone mountain.
00:07:51Commissioned by the daughters of the confederacy, the work was designed to be as tall as a 20-story building.
00:07:57But the project soon fell apart.
00:07:59In typical fashion, borglum had a volatile disagreement with his patrons, who believed the artist was insulting the memory of general lee by portraying him wearing a hat.
00:08:10In a fitful rage, he smashed his working models and fled georgia with a lynch mob snapping at his heels.
00:08:17Borglum needed another project, and fast, to restore his reputation.
00:08:21His prayers were answered in 1925, when he received doane robinson's note suggesting the massive work in south dakota.
00:08:29>> Shaff: The backers of mount rushmore were able to say to borglum time and time again, "remember, gutzon, you can lose one mountain.
00:08:38You can't lose two without being, historically, a fool.
00:08:42" and he understood that.
00:08:46>> narrator: A NEW MOUNTAIN, A new dream, were what borglum needed, and mount rushmore offered both.
00:08:53He quickly dismissed robinson's suggestion of western heroes in stone and, instead, envisioned a tribute to american presidents who symbolized the evolution of the american spirit: Washington, father of the country, who led the fight for american liberty; jefferson, author of the declaration of independence, whose vision of a growing nation inspired the louisiana purchase; lincoln, the great emancipator who preserved the union of states at its darkest hour; and teddy roosevelt, the spirited individualist who DEFINED THE VIBRANT 20th-CENTURY America and was an old friend of borglum's.
00:09:29It would be two years before borglum would carve this dream in granite.
00:09:33First he needed money and a president to go along with the plan.
00:09:44America's jazz age fell under the leadership of a president whose deadpan expression and flat personality were a far cry from speakeasies and flappers: Calvin coolidge, a man not known for a wild sense of humor.
00:10:01But in 1927, in an act of providence, he decided to vacation in south dakota.
00:10:07Well, here was an opportunity.
00:10:10Borglum hoped to secure official federal recognition for his dream of mount rushmore and maybe raise desperately needed funds to finally get the project underway.
00:10:19To impress the president, south dakota governor william bulow christened a hunting lodge the summer white house.
00:10:25A local stream was renamed grace coolidge creek, and it was stocked with prizewinning trout and netted so the fish couldn't swim far from the presidential hook.
00:10:35>> He hunted around and found some old scandinavian with a big nose and employed him to sit on the bank of the grace coolidge creek so that the fish would be accustomed to seeing a big-nosed person there and wouldn't be scared away when coolidge arrived.
00:10:54>> narrator: WELL, The effort paid off.
00:10:57Coolidge began to loosen up.
00:10:59He began to wear hats, all kind of hats, and borglum was able to infect a president with mount rushmore fever.
00:11:08On august 10, 1927, over 1,000 people showed up to catch a glimpse of calvin coolidge as he and the secret service arrived on horseback to mark the start of work on mount rushmore.
00:11:21At the ceremeremony, coolidge declared, "we have come here to dedicate a cornerstone laid by the hand of the almighty," and hehe handed gutzon borglum six ceremonial drill bits.
00:11:32Not to be upstaged by the president, borglum immediately scaled the 6,000-foot peak and had himself lowered over the heads of the crowd to begin carving, even though he hadn't actually worked out the entire design yet.
00:11:47In washington, as one of his last acts as president in 1929, coolidge signed the rushmore bill, establishing matching federal funds for private donations to the monument.
00:11:58To some critics, it was either the most visionary act of his presidency or a comic coda to the decade of decadence that preceded america's plummet into the depression.
00:12:16Borglum's initial design featured only three figures, each rendered to mid-torso.
00:12:22His style was obsessively representational, relying on portraits, models, and life masks to capture every nuance of his subjects.
00:12:31He began his designs as rough miniatures, testing how they would respond to sunlight and shadow, then reworking those into 30-foot-tall structures which still were only 1/12 of what the finished work would be.
00:12:47>> The model is made out of plaster, and it also is made out of excelsior, which was a packing material at that time.
00:12:54It has nails, it has pine needles, pine cones.
00:12:59It was made from just about anything that borglum had on stock at the time.
00:13:03>> narrator: BORGLUM DESIGNED The eyes of his subjects to feature raised areas in the pupils, suggesting a glint of light.
00:13:11In lincoln's eye, this required a 30-inch shaft of granite.
00:13:15And he deloped an almost impressionist style to render the spectacles that framed roosevelt's face.
00:13:23In early films, borglum describes the scope of the monument to doane robinson: >> And that is 60 feet in height from the wig to the chin.
00:13:33>> Borglum, how large will the pupil of that eye be?
00:13:36>> About three feet in diameter.
00:13:38The upper lid is 18 inches.
00:13:41The head, as I told you, is 60 feet in height.
00:13:44The forehead is 20 feet in height, the nose is 20 feet in height, and from the nose to the end of the chin is another 20 feet.
00:13:53>> narrator: EVEN DURING The early stages, the effect was overwhelming.
00:13:59>> People don't realize that this head and the first waist part is as tall as the niagara falls.
00:14:06And if washington might sit in the niagara falls, then the water would only break around his collar.
00:14:12>> narrator: WASHINGTON'S HEAD Alone is as large as the sphinx in egypt.
00:14:16The carving's size dwarfs almost all ancient wonders.
00:14:21To transfer the designs onto stone, borglum used an ancient technique calledpointing.
00:14:27A circular plate measured in degrees is placed on top of the model.
00:14:32The degree which a boom points is recorded, as well as the length of the boom out from the center of the plate and how far down from the boom a string extends until it reaches an element of the design.
00:14:44These three measurements are multiplied by 12 and then duplicated on a larger pointing system on the mountain.
00:14:52>> Popovich: This was the model that was used.
00:14:54It was a 1/12 scale.
00:14:57If you look onto the model itself, there's a boom that comes out and then a plumb bob, so 1 inch on the model would represent 12 inches on the mountain itself.
00:15:07>> narrator: BECAUSE OF THE HIGH Degree of accuracy needed, the pointer was the most important person on the mountain.
00:15:13In 1932, borglum assigned his son, lincoln, to that job, and from his vantage point, it was lincoln who first recognized that the monument was quickly becoming more than just carving in stone.
00:15:29[drills whirring] "It came to me in an almost terrifying manner," borglum admitted, "that I had never sensed what I was planning.
00:15:57Its dimensions, the vastness that lay here demanded the complete remodeling of the grouping I'd been " as work proceeded, borglum constantly had to change his design due to inconsistencies in the granite.
00:16:11His first attempt at a jefferson head on washington's right side had to be blasted away and a new one built on washington's left.
00:16:19Nature was participating in the design.
00:16:22>> When you look at mount rushmore, you'll notice that the jefferson head is tilted back or seems to be looking up at a higher angle than the rest of the heads.
00:16:29The romantic view of this is that borglum saw jefferson as a visionary, the person who saw where the country should go and knew how to take us there.
00:16:37Reality was, is that there was a crack that ran through jefferson's nose, and he had to keep tilting it back until the crack no longer ran through the nose.
00:16:47>> narrator: BORGLUM NEEDED A specially constructed aerial tram to survey the work as it progressed and instruct the crew on how to approach refinements.
00:16:57>> We would see borglum come up in the bucket, and he'd stop the bucketut tre in front with the wind kind of moving him around, and he'd look at either lincoln or whichever one that had men working on.
00:17:11He'd just look at it, and then he'd go up and get some paint and a brush and go down and paint what he wanted.
00:17:18Nothing from here to three inches down to nothing, but then, how he could make it come out looking like lincoln and like jefferson is amazing to me, because it was so large when you got next to it, you just couldn't imagine it.
00:17:34>> narrator: IT WAS An incredible challenge to envision the monument from such a close perspective, but borglum knew the figures were there.
00:17:42It was just a matter of removing half a million tons of granite to reveal them.
00:17:48From the height of a 50-story building, workmen were carefully lowered by iron winches in special bosun chairs.
00:17:55Once the pointer verified a position, a workman used a pneumatic drill to create small holes for the dynamite; for just enough dynamite to remove extra rock to within three inches of the finished surface, yet not enough to damage the area to be hand carved.
00:18:18In all, it was an exacting process suggested to borglum by european road builders who used the technique to blast holes in mountains to build tunnels through the alps.
00:18:31The more delicate work was calledhoneycombingthe rock.
00:18:35The surface of the stone was textured with a close formation of drill holes, then smaller pieces of granite would be manually chipped off with a tool called achannel iron.
00:18:47>> That's a channel iron.
00:18:47They use it in the regular jackhammer instead of a regular drill, and then they cut between the holes so that you can wedge out pieces of rock without using powder.
00:18:58>> narrator: THIS CHANNEL IRON, Like the wide variety of steel drill bits used to shape the stone, was attached to a 60-pound jackhammer.
00:19:07It operated on compressed air piped up from the base of the mountain 1,300 feet below.
00:19:13>> And then the air would be funneled down into the jackhammer, which would make it go in and out, and then it would also, if I can lift it up here, the end has a hole in it which would allow the air to come through and then push the excess dust away.
00:19:29But when you were in a bosun chair with about a 40-mile-an-hour wind and hanging on a cable off the side of the mountain, and it might be 20 degrees out, you had to hold that jackhammer away from your body.
00:19:42And as they held it away, it would, of course, wear them out.
00:19:46>> There's a lot of crooked drill holes up there that-- >> donald blames me for that.
00:19:57>> He couldn't drill straight.
00:20:01>> Anytime you drill a crooked hole, you got to cut it out with a channel iron.
00:20:04You don't get out of working.
00:20:07>> Popovich: When they would use these jackhammers for any length of time, they would actually take their shoes and put them in the form of av, and they would use thatv to get the holes started, and they would go through a pair of shoes by not wearing out the bottom but actually wearing the insteps out first.
00:20:24>> narrator: FINALLY Pneumatic devices and hand tools were used to grind rough areas then polish the finish to a smooth surface in a process calledbumping.
00:20:35>> This is a dallet hand facer.
00:20:37It also was run with air.
00:20:38Air would come into the back.
00:20:40The four-star drill bit was placed in the dallet hand facer, but it wasn't locked in place.
00:20:48And the reason that they didn't lock it in place is because you didn't want it to drill a hole.
00:20:52All you wanted it to do was bump the faces smooth.
00:20:55So this was used, and it just went around and bumped the faces smooth just as though you would use sandpaper.
00:21:01>> Had to be pretty strong to do that all day, because that's pretty heavy, especially for an old man like me.
00:21:09>> narrator: WHEN WORKING So close to the enormous heads, it was difficult to have a sense of the finished design, so to help the men get the feel of the sculpture, borglum had five-foot modef each head placed on top of the mountain to be used as guides.
00:21:24>> Popovich: The workers talked about how big the faces were when you were right on the faces working up there, so he decided that what he would do was create these smaller, life-sized models.
00:21:35Then he would take them and transfer them right up on the mountain so the workers could actually feel the inside of the nose and underneath the eyes, and they can actually tell where they were working, and he could point out better, "if you're going to go back this far, this is what you'll be doing, and this is what it will " >> we needed jobs, that was the main thing.
00:21:58I started out at 50¢ an hour, and at that time, we worked six days a week, and every two weeks, we got a check for $52, and that was really good money at that time.
00:22:10I was happy to get it.
00:22:13>> narrator: AT THAT TIME, In south dakota, unemployment was running at 34%.
00:22:19People needed the jobs, but experience in stone carving or hard rock mining were not necessary.
00:22:26>> Actually, probably got the job because I was a good baseball player.
00:22:30 borglum's son, lincoln, was a big baseball fan, so lincoln thought, "well, I'll hire baseball players, and we'll have a baseball team " >> narrator: THE MOUNT RUSHMORE Baseball team became a local institution.
00:22:45It went all the way to the state championship on several occasions.
00:22:49In fact, recruiting drillers and infielders was often done simultaneously.
00:22:53>> I played shortstop.
00:22:55That's the reason I got the job.
00:22:57>> narrator: IT WAS NOT Surprising that these men would play well together on a team.
00:23:01They had a special bond: Sharing the same demanding and dangerous task.
00:23:05What is surprising is that in the 14 years of construction, there were no critical accidents or deaths.
00:23:12>> Worman: When you strapped yourself in one of those things, and they dropped a boy down over that, he was pretty careful.
00:23:17I remember, at that time-- just an example--i smoked a pipe a lot at that time, and I had been silly enough to cut a hole in my respirator with a razor blade and had my pipe sticking through my respirator when lincoln came up one time, and he saw me down there.
00:23:36Now, right away, he comes right down--he has a respirator in his pocket, and he just-- of course, I didn't have the pipe when he come down because I seen him coming, and he says, " >> narrator: IN CONTRAST To his imposing father, lincoln borglum seemed a silent partner on the project.
00:23:55Yet he was most responsible for supervising progress and employee relations.
00:24:01 borglum's son, lincoln, he doesn't get any credit at all for the work he'd done, or at least very little.
00:24:10And lincoln, he was here all the time.
00:24:12>> Worman: Quit college.
00:24:14>> And he worked up there, borglum was gone a lot of times for three, four months at a time, and lincoln actually supervised the work that was being done, and he doesn't get much credit at all, and I think he deserves a lot of credit.
00:24:33>> narrator: GUTZON WAS The exacting taskmaster.
00:24:35Lincoln would often have to smooth over the hurt feelings caused by his father.
00:24:40>> Worman: We didn't get too much contact with mr. borglum.
00:24:44We all knew him, spoke to him and so forth, but we didn't get close to him.
00:24:49He was very quick to make decisions, and he wanted everything perfect.
00:24:56There was a lot of people there that--i know one of the drillers that was a finish driller been fired five or six times on a weekend, and then lincoln would come back and get him on monday morning, see.
00:25:10But he was different.
00:25:14>> narrator: GUTZON BORGLUM'S Reputation for confrontation had been firmly established before the mount rushmore project began, but with the onset of the depression and the resulting shortage of funds, he found it ever harder to control his temper.
00:25:34[people yelling excitedly] >> narrator: IN 1929, When the stock market crashed, so did the american spirit.
00:25:48The great depression quickly swept across the united states, ushering in a season of gloom.
00:25:5312 Million people were out of work.
00:25:56Bad times were of biblical proportions.
00:25:59Families were torn apart as men combed the nation for any kind of work at any rate of pay.
00:26:06And before long, dwindling resources caused work to become sporadic on borglum's mount rushmore.
00:26:14>> Gutzon could not understand how at mount rushmore, anybody could tell him, "there isn't enough in the treasury " he's carving stone that's going to be recognizable 100,000 years from now.
00:26:32How can you tell him, "today's production must stop"?
00:26:35He could never understand the gift he was leaving for the world being related to dollars.
00:26:43>> narrator: Funding for the monument was limited to nickels and dimes donated by schoolchildren and matched by the government.
00:26:51Major federal grant money was needed at a time when none was available, especially for such an odd and overwhelming project.
00:26:59But ironically, what had started as a tourist attraction in the wilds of south dakota was becoming an important symbol of national pride in a period when pride was about all people had left.
00:27:10>> Millions throughout the world envy us the privilege and right to call ourselves americans.
00:27:14Let us prove our deep appreciation of that privilege by rededicating ourselves to true americanism with faith in god, faith in man, faith in liberty, and faith in america.
00:27:25>> narrator: THE ROOSEVELT Administration's vigorous promotion of a revitalized sense of americanism inspired borglum with a new publicity strategy.
00:27:34It was clear that his relentless dedication to the project and the monument's reverence toward the democratic dream were perfect springboards for the patriotic government's support of mount rushmore, and borglum knew it.
00:27:47Using his talent for self-promotion, gutzon kicked off a series of theatrical dedications to mark each stage of the carving process and to keep the public and political eye focused on his dream.
00:27:59>> male newsreel announcer: America's gigantic mount rushmore memorial is visited by president roosevelt, who comes to dedicate the jefferson figure.
00:28:06Sculptor gutzon borglum's daughter gives the signal.
00:28:10That chopper's flying just above what will finally be jefferson's hand.
00:28:19Egypt's burials conceived nothing so spectacular as this enduring monument in south dakota's black hills.
00:28:25The 65-foot jefferson head alone is three times bigger than the sphinx.
00:28:29The four immense heads, washington, jefferson, lincoln, and theodore roosevelt, when completed, will be of the world's greatest patriotic memorial, america's heritage to future generations.
00:28:40>> narrator: BORGLUM LOVED A big show, but his grandest publicity scheme was destined to strain friendships and cost him a powerful ally.
00:28:54He loved america and wanted to proclaim it in letters 20 feet tall.
00:28:59His original plan for mount rushmore included a giant time line of american history.
00:29:05He called itthe entablature.
00:29:07Calvin coolidge had been selected to write the 500-word composition as a condition of federal funding in the 1929 rushmore bill which coolidge himself had signed into law.
00:29:19In 1930, the ex-president sent a rough draft of the composition to south dakota.
00:29:25Borglum promptly edited it to suit his own vision of american history, releasing it immediately to anxious reporters.
00:29:34Coolidge was shocked to see an altered version of his text published in newspapers.
00:29:38"This is not what I wrote," he told borglum.
00:29:41"But it's what you meant to write," borglum replied, and he began carving.
00:29:46The public was astounded at borglum's audacity and the embarrassing tempest it inspired.
00:29:51It destroyed the friendship between the artist and coolidge.
00:29:54They never spoke again, and the entablature project was halted by congress until it accurately reflected coolidge's composition.
00:30:02In 1934, after coolidge had died and congress was distracted, an ingenious newspaperman saw an opportunity to generate publicity and sell papers with a new twist on borglum's entablature.
00:30:15William randolph hearst conspired with borglum on a national promotion.
00:30:20>> male newsreel announcer: Who will write the epic of america?
00:30:24Here on mount rushmore, beside the colossal figures of washington and other leaders, will be carved an eloquent summary of the nation's development.
00:30:31To this the public is invited to contribute in a gigantic countrywide contest sponsored by the hearst newspapers.
00:30:37Cash and other prizes go to the winners, whose combined text will be chiseled into solid rock by gutzon borglum, famous sculptor, a mighty and permanent salute to the spirit of progress.
00:30:51>> Over 1 million people-- historians and teachers and citizens and congressmen-- all were writing histories for this problem of finding a suitable text.
00:31:04>> narrator: IN THESE RARE Outtakes from the newsreel that was never released, borglum awarded the winning student authors.
00:31:10>> These three young men were awarded prizes in the successful competition-- successful national competition.
00:31:19>> man: LET'S GET IT RIGHT.
00:31:20>> T these three young men were awarded-- god damn it, just let's give them the medals.
00:31:28>> I met the challenge, and I wrote it the way I thought it should be, and I still believe what I read from others and the history of our country that it did the best I could at the time.
00:31:39>> narrator: IN THE END, However, burkett's words were never carved in stone.
00:31:43The idea had always been impractical.
00:31:45There wasn't enough stone for the full text.
00:31:47>> Popovich: Borglum envisioned an entablature where the lincoln figure is today.
00:31:51And then, when he had to move the jefferson figure over to the left of washington, he also had to move the lincoln figure, so that took away where the entablature would have been.
00:32:03>> narrator: BORGLUM Was disappointed that the entablature fell through, but this wasn't to be the only unfinished dream on the mountain.
00:32:17>> Roosevelt: I think that we can, perhaps, meditate a little on those americans 10,000 years from now, when the weathering of the face of washington and jefferson and lincoln shall have proceeded to a depth of perhaps 1/10 of an inch.
00:32:3710,000 Years from now.
00:32:41I think we can meditate and wonder whether our descendants--because I think they'll still be here-- what they will think about us.
00:32:51And let us hope that, at least, they will give us the benefit of the doubt.
00:32:57That they will believe that we have honestly striven, in our day and generation, to preserve for our descendants a decent land to live in and a decent form of government to operate under.
00:33:13>> narrator: 10,000 YEARS FROM Now, the faces of mount rushmore may still be there, but will anyone remember who these giants were or the people who honored them?
00:33:21Borglum tackled that problem by designing a hall of records to be drilled in the granite behind the heads to house copies of the constitution, a history of the united states, busts of 24 famous americans.
00:33:35The plan was, the hall would be carved behind lincoln's head.
00:33:39There would be a tunnel way extending 100 feet into the stone leading visitors into an enormous domed room that would house historic artifacts.
00:33:50>> I would never have worked in there if I'd have starved to death.
00:33:53They were drilling dry.
00:33:55You couldn't recognize them when they come out till you blew them off.
00:33:59That dust was terrible.
00:34:02It was a bad situation.
00:34:05>> narrator: IN MANY WAYS, Carving the hall of records was more difficult than sculpting the portraits.
00:34:10Work on the hall of records ended quickly after borglum's death in 1941.
00:34:16World war loomed, and congress wanted the monument finished fast.
00:34:21>> Pflaum: I believe borglum was a real visionary.
00:34:24He wanted no chance that this monument to america, to freedom and democracy, would be lost to our future generations.
00:34:34And he wanted to ensure that we had that record in a secure environment, and that was to be the hall of records.
00:34:42The original plans were to have a tunnel way into the mountain about 100 feet and then a very large domed-out room.
00:34:52We have a tunnel way into the mountain of about 68 feet that was completed by the workers before work was halted.
00:34:58Well, I think the numbers were placed there by gutzon borglum to indicate the depth at which drilling needed to occur.
00:35:05In this case, I'd say it looks like a depth of 12 inches was indicated.
00:35:10And then the blasting that would take it off to a cleaner level consistent with the depth of the honeycombing, and then this blasted level had yet to be finally finished to get to the relatively smooth process we see on the faces or outside the hall of records.
00:35:27And in the hall of records, you can see, the further in you go, the rougher, or earlier on in that entire process that the workers were.
00:35:35>> narrator: Because it wasn't finished, what is preserved illustrates the process of construction.
00:35:42>> You do feel like you're very much standing on the doorstep of history at the hall of records, and part of the reason, I think, is because it is this unfinished dream concept that we see here.
00:36:02>> narrator: THE MOUNTAIN And the man: Their destinies linked, spirits melded as one, both imposing, overstated, larger than life, both possessed of an inner grace, both grand representations of the american spirit.
00:36:18So it seemed beyond belief that one could exist without the other.
00:36:22Yet on march 6, 1941, gutzon borglum died at the age of 73.
00:36:37Without the chief to bully and boast, activity on the monument seemed to enter a state of suspended animation: Incomplete, stuck in a moment of time between dreams and reality, between promise and power, its full vision still frozen under countless tons of ageless granite.
00:36:59With the beginning of world war ii, the united states had larger issues to consider.
00:37:06Gutzon's son, lincoln, was commissioned to stop the work and clean up the site.
00:37:10Tools were disassembled, borglum's models packed away, and lincoln climbed the peak one last time to say good-bye to his father's dream.
00:37:28>> Lincoln Borglum: The models which my father and I had made and changed so many times showed the figures were to be executed down to the waist.
00:37:36I felt they were just as effective the way they are today.
00:37:41On my final report to the commission, I stated that the granite stairway and the hall of records were essential to the memorial's completion.
00:37:48I felt that the memorial would become a riddle to people a few thousand years from now without explanatory data.
00:37:55Today the official view is that the memorial is finished, and there are definitely no plans for more carving.
00:38:02Actually, there is no stone on rushmore for another face.
00:38:06I do feel that the great symbolic message of the memorial is there.
00:38:13>> Wenk: Many people wonder about "should mount rushmore " I think the answer to that " certainly, more work could have been done on it, but there is a story to be told in unfinished dreams as well as finished dreams.
00:38:25It's a piece of art in its own right.
00:38:27You know, it's one man's conception of the birth and growth of our country and what these four presidents represented to the first 150 years of our country.
00:38:35And changing or adding a head to mount rushmore now would be tantamount to, if you will, changing the smile on themona lisa.
00:38:41>> narrator: AS A MAN GROWS OLD, So does a mountain.
00:38:45The black hills themselves are old men, granite stubs left from the erosion of stone giants tens of millions of years ago.
00:38:52Their erosion continues today.
00:38:56>> Pflaum: The granite in the black hills is full of cracks, and the mountain itself has dozens.
00:39:02This is a natural crack.
00:39:03The primary thing we would do is to try to keep the moisture out of them because the biggest concern we'd have is moisture getting in, freezing and thawing cycles, and then an actual wedging process whereby over many hundreds or thousands of years, that wedging process could cause some problems.
00:39:23>> While we know there's no imminent danger for the mountain itself, we do know that there's at least three cracks that pose future problems in the stability of the mountain.
00:39:31One of those cracks is in lincoln's left eye, another is in roosevelt's hairline, and another is in washington's right ear.
00:39:45>> This crack runs all the way through the left side of washington's head and intersects with another crack coming in on a lateral plane.
00:39:55So we have a huge block of granite, and it's not going anywhere.
00:39:59It weighs many, many tons.
00:40:01We've been measuring the spread of this crack with three pins that are placed, and about every month or so, somebody from our staff takes a measurement for the last ten years, and we have had no detectable spread on this crack.
00:40:16The material that's patching this crack is the mixture that gutzon borglum used, which is the mixture of white lead, granite dust, and linseed oil.
00:40:25The substance that we've patched these cracks with most recently is a silicone-based, somewhat pliable substance that can expand and contract at the rate with the rock.
00:40:41>> narrator: THE EERIE SILENCE Of the black hills draws seekers still and raises questions that can't be answered.
00:40:49Is there such a thing as eternity?
00:40:52Or is forever a moment we hold in our hearts?
00:41:16>> woman: CARRIE, IN 1933, When I was a little girl, we used to come up here.
00:41:20I lived in hot springs, and I'd come up here on sundays or during the week, and borglum would talk to us, and we watched borglum carve those.
00:41:28>> There used to be stairs that came in behind abraham lincoln, and you could walk up through there.
00:41:34They weren't restrictive like they are today, and you could get up on top of there when they weren't working.
00:41:40>> And it's so amazing to me that anybody could actually carry out a dream like that.
00:41:47>> narrator: THE MOUNT RUSHMORE Visitor's center welcomes over 2 1/2 million tourists a year, some reliving a childhood experience, others on a patriotic pilgrimage.
00:41:59>> Popovich: As the public comes to the memorial and they walk out on the terrace for the first time if they've never seen it, I ink they first ask how it was done, but after they've stood there awhile and thought about how, I think then they start to reflect on why.
00:42:13And the "why" is very important because it explains america and what makes america great.
00:42:19>> narrator: MOUNT RUSHMORE Is the work of a dreamer inspired by a nation of dreamers.
00:42:25It was one man's vision, but it demanded the sweat and sacrifice of many ordinary men and women who would chisel their history in stone and celebrate the promise of the land they loved.
00:42:37>> There was a group of people, turned to be a family, that worked up here.
00:42:41And that, in a way, is amazing to me.
00:42:44They never got much credit.
00:42:45They got very little credit.
00:42:47When they took a picture of them, nobody even took time to name them.
00:42:51But I'll tell you, I would like to see them named and so would some of their widows, those old ones that died from working up here all those years with dust in their lungs and that.
00:43:03Somebody ought to name them.
00:43:41Captioning provided by the U.S. Department of Education and A&E Television Networks.
00:43:47Captioning by Melissa atCaptionMax >> man: GREECE.
00:44:52[lively guitar music] >> male narrator: AMERICA At the turn of the century-- men, women, and children streaming to her shores from countries around the world.
00:45:08For 16 million immigrants, ellis island in new york harbor was the golden door to the united states, land of hope and opportunity.
00:45:25Today ellis island is abandoned and deserted, a stark and evocative reminder of the days when its grounds and buildings were jammed with future americans.
00:45:50[lively guitar music] ♪ ♪
00:46:36[footsteps echoing] [doors closing] >> man #1: WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
00:46:56>> man #2: JUAN ANTONIO GARCIA.
00:47:01>> man #1: EVERYONE OVER HERE.
00:47:04Proceed to the hall.
00:47:08[lively guitar music] ♪ ♪
00:47:20[ominous piano music] ♪ ♪
00:47:53[lively guitar music] ♪ ♪
00:49:07>> man: CARNEGIE, FITZGERALD, LOREN, LaGUARDIA, MAYLING-SOONG, Horshak, papagopoulis, rockne, sikorski, von stroheim.
00:49:27>> [man speaking foreign language] >> [woman speaking foreign language] >> [man speaking foreign language] [lively guitar music] ♪ ♪
00:50:20[hurdy-gurdy music] ♪ ♪
00:50:34>> narrator: The immigrants soon find out that the streets of america are not really paved with gold.
00:50:48There are classes at night to teach immigrants the new language of their new land.
00:50:55The teacher says, " and a key is turned, w world unlocked.
00:51:06Living in city slums and crowded tenements, many of the newcomers are victims of discrimination and prejudice.
00:51:15And yet, from the city sidewalks and the humble beginnings will come mayors and civic officials, business leaders and professional men sharing an immigrant heritage.
00:51:29Earning a living, raising a family, living with new neighbors-- the immigrants are, in the process, helping to build a nation.
00:51:56The promised land often is not, for not every newcomer finds the better life that he seeks.
00:52:03But parents believe that their unfulfilled dreams can come true in the lives of their children.
00:52:18And so the immigrants' imprint is found all across america--in every industry, in every state.
00:52:28Why the immigrants came and what they did is, then, the story of our country.
00:52:39Today 200 million americans in 50 states are descendants of immigrants.
00:52:45Each of them is a living witness to the words of walt whitman: "These people are the amplest poem.
00:52:53Here is not merely a nation, but " >> choir: ♪ GIVE ME YOUR TIRED ♪
00:53:51♪ And your poor, ♪
00:53:56♪ your huddled masses ♪
00:54:03♪ the wretched refuse ♪
00:54:11♪ send these, the homeless, ♪
00:54:23♪ I lift my lamp ♪
00:54:38♪ I lift my lamp ♪
00:54:42 ♪ ♪
00:54:57Captioning provided by the U.S. Department of Education and A&E Television Networks.
00:55:02>> announcer: THIS CONCLUDES Today's presentation of the history channel classroom.
00:55:06Thank you for watching.
00:55:08Please join us again on the next edition of the history channel classroom.
00:55:16>> male announcer: The preceding program is part of: