On August 30th, 1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt attended the dedication ceremony for the head Thomas Jefferson’s at Mount Rushmore. According to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Roosevelt was already in the region touring regions that were devastated by the drought of the 1930s.
Roosevelt regarded his visit to the monument as an informal affair, as he didn’t view the natural setting as an appropriate venue for pomp and circumstance. During his succinct remarks, Roosevelt spoke of the monument’s tenacity and asked attendants to “meditate and wonder what our descendants...will think of us.” He hoped that future generations would reflect kindly on previous generations and take note of their hard work and labor in preserving American soil.
The completion of the Jefferson sculpture marked the monument’s second complete face. George Washington’s sculpture was finished six years prior to Jefferson’s. Originally, Jefferson was to be located to Washington’s left, but sculptors found the stone there too weak and relocated Jefferson to Washington’s right. Lincoln’s likeness was completed shortly after Jefferson in 1937. Teddy Roosevelt was the last to be completed in 1939.
View more photos of Mount Rushmore on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s digital archives.