Who Are The Famous Surveyors At Mt. Rushmore? Who Was Left Out?

The Surveyors carved at Mt. Rushmore is one of my favorite comments when talking about land surveys. Mt. Rushmore is one of the earliest monuments built in America.  The idea for a monument was conceived in 1924 and commissioned in 1925.  It was hoped that the monument would bring visitors to the remote area of America.

Mt. Rushmore was named after Charles E. Rushmore who was a New York lawyer and businessman.  Congress appropriated funds in 1927 with the provision that four presidents would occupy the site.  George Washington was the first to be presented. It was insisted by President Coolidge that two Republicans and one Democrat also be carved.  Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were selected as the other three Surveyor’s.

It was only a coincidence that three of the men were considered Surveyors – Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. The international definition of a survey is “to examine and record the area and features of (an area of land) so as to construct a map, plan or description.  However, I recently read in The American Surveyor a contribution by Walt Robillard, principal of World Boundaries, and a specialist in local and international land boundary disputes, that Theodore Roosevelt also deserves tribute given to the other men on the mountain.  Robillard’s research and conclusions have led him that because of Roosevelt’s mapmaking trip to Brazil, in which he almost died, Roosevelt was vindicated that he discovered the River of Doubt, which the Brazilian government renamed Rio Roosevelt in his honor.

There is a lot of information online that gives more information on the expedition Roosevelt made that is very interesting. (Google River of Doubt.) I recommend you read more information about Roosevelt’s expedition and the suffering he went through.  After reading about Roosevelt’s exploration, I too believe he needs to be known as the 4th Surveyor at Mt. Rushmore.

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