All the Men Who Carved Mount Rushmore Now Dead

Last living worker, Donald Clifford, died Saturday at age 98
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2019 7:10 AM CST
Last Living Mount Rushmore Construction Worker Has Died
This June 28, 2016, file photo shows Nick Clifford, 95, who helped Gutzon Borglum carve Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Clifford was the youngest of some 360 individuals hired.   (Josh Morgan/Rapid City Journal via AP, File)

The last living worker who "worked on the carving" of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota’s Black Hills has died, reports the Rapid City Journal. Donald "Nick" Clifford of Keystone, South Dakota, was 98. His wife, Carolyn Clifford, says he died Saturday at a hospice in Rapid City. At 17, Nick Clifford was the youngest worker hired to work at Mount Rushmore, reports the AP. He operated a winch that carried workers up and down the mountain where the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were carved, and he drilled holes for dynamite.

Clifford worked on Mount Rushmore from 1938-40, earning 55 cents an hour. Between 1927 and 1941, nearly 400 men and a few women worked on the memorial, which is now visited by nearly 3 million people annually. In 2004, Clifford and his wife wrote his story in a book, “Mount Rushmore Q&A”. He would sign copies at the memorial's gift shop. "I feel like Mount Rushmore was the greatest thing with which I was ever involved," Clifford said in a 2016 interview. "It tells a story that will never go away—the story of how America was made and the men who helped make it what it is today."

(Read more obituary stories.)

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