Not every Dakotan welcomed Doane Robinson's idea to invite Gutzon Borglum to carve Mount Rushmore into sculpture. A professor at the University of South Dakota, John Tjaden, wrote a poem about the project which was published in local newspapers in 1926:
When God made our matchless playground,
He did not intend that man should
even in his wildest ravings
dare to come with hammer, chisel,
block and tackle, pick and mallet,
to profane His age-old record,
to profane the face of Rushmore
by his puny, pygmy scratches.
Why should man presume to alter
the Creator's masterpieces,
wrought in everlasting granite,
wrought by forces so titanic
that no scientist can measure,
that no human mind can master?
And to think that man, presumptive,
should deface and mutilate them!
Men and women, 'tis your duty
to lift your earnest voices,
to the end that all our people
forthwith band themselves together
to preserve from desecration
finished products from God's workshop
and placed by that Master-Artist
in the playground of the Dakota.
From Smith, Rex Alan. The Carving of Mount Rushmore. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985, pp. 116-7.
Before radar had been invented a devastating hurricane hit America, surprising residents of the East Coast and killing more than 600 people.
President Theodore Roosevelt was caught in the middle of the first major battle for wilderness preservation in Yosemite National Park.
In 1934, American polar explorer Richard Byrd became the first to experience winter in Antarctica's interior.
In 1927, the Mississippi River flooded from New Orleans to Illinois, leaving a million people homeless and leading to a major black migration to the North.
Native Alaskans, oil company representatives, environmentalists, politicians, and others tell the story of the 800-mile pipeline.
The coal miners' battle for dignity led to the largest armed insurrection since the American Civil War.
The epic battle waged over dinosaur fossils by rival paleontologists in the American West.
The New Deal program CCC put three million young men to work in camps across America.