80th Celebration of the Completion of Mount Rushmore

In honor of the 80th Anniversary since the completion of Mount Rushmore in 1941, here is an excerpt from our popular book: Mount Rushmore Memories. Keep the history alive!


“I remember my dad pointing out the spot where Gramp was standing when the idea for a carving came into his mind.  According to the story, it was 1923 and they were going over the Needles Highway for the first time—my mother, my dad, his sister, my Gramp and a WWI friend of my dad’s, Lester Atwood.  

They were traveling in a Model T Ford touring sedan. The cooling system of this sedan was not what we have today, and they always carried a canvas bag on the front it.  When it got hot, they’d fill it with water and cool it off. Anyway, they’d run out of water and my dad went down to the creek bed to fill the water pouch.  When he got back up to the top, my Gramp was looking at the Needles, and off the cuff he started talking about his ideas and how it would be a great place for some carving.

I remember that he was very sincere in everything he did.  He was sincere about his feelings for his church, for his family, for his buddies, and also for Mount Rushmore and South Dakota.  He loved South Dakota.

When our family lived in Pierre, Gramp lived next door to us.  The worst thing he ever said when he got irritated was “Oh, Thunder!”  He played a lot of cards, but he never played on Sunday.  He hated debt and attended church as regularly as possible.

When I was between the ages of two and eight, my best friends were Pete and Karl Wegner.  Their mother was Nellie Norbeck, Peter Norbeck’s daughter.  Peter Norbeck lived across the street, and Pete and Karl lived across the alley.  We played together constantly.  Little did we know that we had two unique grandfathers.  We thought that everyone had grandfathers who did things!”

Will Doane Robinson
Rapid City, SD