By Bob Mercer, American News Correspondent
1:40 PM PDT, March 28, 2013
The man who led the carving of Mount Rushmore National Memorial soon will have a state road named in his honor again.
The state Transportation Commission on Thursday designated a stretch of S.D. 244 as Guzton Borlum Memorial Highway.
The 10-mile segment is between the U.S. 16A junction near Keystone and the intersection with U.S. 385 south of Hill City.
It is the main road to the giant carvings of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt on the mountainside.
In 1973 then-Gov. Dick Kneip dedicated the same highway in memory of the sculptor. A state historical society marker featuring an image of Borglum was placed near the U.S. 16A junction.
The bronze marker later disappeared after work on the highway. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial Society now possesses the marker.
“It’s an interesting story,” said Rodney Fouberg of Aberdeen, the commission’s chairman.
The historic marker won’t be reinstalled, said Scott Rabern, a state Department of Transportation official.
“That way we won’t have a pull-out for the marker. They’re OK with that,” Rabern said.
DOT will put brown signs measuring 5 feet wide by 18 inches deep at each end of the segment. They will bear the words, “Gutzon Borglum Memorial Highway.”
Those are the same words the Legislature used in 1972, when lawmakers passed a Senate concurrent resolution designating the same stretch of road that then was known as S.D. 87.
Because it was a resolution, rather than a law, the honor could be found only in the obscurity of the 1972 legislative session’s House and Senate journals.
The resolution’s sponsors were Sen. Kenneth Trask, R-Custer, and Sen. Bob Burns, R-Vivian.
They said the honor should be “in conjunction with the celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of the United States” that would come in 1976.
Senators agreed, passing the resolution 34-0. The House of Representatives followed 72-0.
The route previously was known as Horsethief Lake Road. At the 1973 dedication ceremony Lincoln Borglum, son of the sculptor, recalled walking the route as a boy with his father who was searching for a mountain for the carving.
According to a newspaper account from 1973, Lincoln Borglum said parts of the route they took were then a logging trail. After his father had chosen the mountain, someone reportedly said there wasn’t a way to reach it.
According to his son, Gutzon Borglum replied, “OK, I’ll make the monument and roads will come to it.”
He was right.