In 1927, Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to design Mount Rushmore. Borglum was reported to be an active, and high ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan. Born in Idaho, 1867, to a polygamist family of Danish Mormons, his father had two wives, the second being his mothers sister. His father left the Mormon church, and Gutzon’s mother. Gutzon apprenticed in a machine shop, and found his way to Paris where he studied art. When returning to America he worked as a sculptor in New York. In 1901 some of his work was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1915 the Daughters of Confederacy approached him to do a statue of Robert E. Lee at Stone Mountain, Georgia. Work began on the monument in 1923, the major financial backing coming from the KKK. This monument was never completed, as Gutzon couldn’t overcome disagreements with the organization sponsoring the sculpture.
Construction on Rushmore began in 1927, and ended in 1941. Borglums son Lincoln, oversaw much of the work in later years, as his father was often travelling to raise money for the project. Borglum died in 1941.
Borglum claimed publicly that he had no connection to the KKK. One of the artifacts at the Mount Rushmore museum is a letter to Borglum from D.C. Stephenson, the Klan Grand Dragon.
Just something to ponder if you happen to gaze upon Mount Rushmore.
photo from travel South Dakota website