Nick Clifford, from Keystone, South Dakota, was one of the 400 men who were a vital part in building the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. But for the last 12 years, out of the 400 people, Nick has been the only one alive!
Mount Rushmore is a landmark and a man-made wonder, and the last living carver on one of the nation's most notable landmarks just celebrated his 98th birthday on Monday, reports CNN. Nick Clifford, from Keystone, South Dakota, was one of the 400 men who were a vital part in building the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. All of them worked as call boys, carvers, drillers, blacksmiths, and housekeepers from October 4, 1927, to October 31, 1941. But, for the last 12 years, out of the 400 people, Nick has been the only one alive!
"They're all gone now. I'm the last one so I'm happy that my health is good, and I plan on living to quite a while yet," Clifford told KOTA. Friends and family from around the country came to celebrate Nick's milestone birthday and to appreciate all his hard work. Murita Marty, a friend of Nick's, who traveled from Arizona to join in on the celebrations, said, "I've been in love with Mt. Rushmore since I came here when I was 6."
On July 5th the last living carver of Mount Rushmore, Nick Clifford, will turn 98. Nick, who was hired by Gutzon Borglum, was brought on more for his baseball skills than as a carver. He penned a book and is often found at the gift shop autographing his work. #XanterraTravel pic.twitter.com/Xnt7Vr0yIV— Mount Rushmore (@MountRushmoreNM) July 4, 2019
"So the idea that I got to meet someone who created this mountain, to me, was just like I met a rockstar," she added. Nick's wife Carolyn, who he's been married to for 45 years, said he's still leaving his mark. "He's been a wonderful man. He's very kind and generous, and somewhat shy," said she, "You wouldn't know that since he's in the public, but he enjoys what he's doing a lot."
Highlight from our trip. Here with Don "Nick Clifford at Mount Rushmore and his book. He is the last living worker on the memorial. Amazing fact: There were NO Fatalities during the construction of the monument. #writerslife #inspiration #MountRushmore pic.twitter.com/wcyeJEhP7N— Ellen Byerrum (@EllenByerrum) May 9, 2019
Carolyn also mentioned that somebody else was going to write a book about Clifford, but instead, they decided to write one on their own. Carolyn asked the questions, and Nick answered them! Now, the duo signs copies of the books for the visitors at Mount Rushmore. The landmark sculpture features the 60-foot heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
The four presidents were chosen by artist and sculptor Gutzon Borglum to represent the birth, growth, development, and preservation of the United States. According to ThoughtCo, no one reportedly died while working on the construction of Mount Rushmore, even though they were hung from a 3/8-inch steel cable in bosun's chairs as they worked with jackhammers, drills, and chisels and even carried dynamite to break rocks. Now, that is definitely an achievement.
This gentleman, Nick Clifford, was one of the original drillers for Mount Rushmore. I bought his book and he signed… pic.twitter.com/RHSWMRMt57— NationalParks Photos (@NatlParksPhotos) July 7, 2015
Do you know how Mount Rushmore got its name? It was named after a New York attorney called Charles E. Rushmore, who had visited the area in 1885. As the story goes, Rushmore visited South Dakota on a business trip when he set his eyes on the large, impressive, granite peak. When he asked his guide the name of the peak, Rushmore was told, "Hell, it never had a name, but from now on we'll call the damn thing Rushmore." He is later said to have donated $5,000 to help get the Mount Rushmore project started, becoming one of the first to donate private money to the project.
He’s the last living carver of Mount Rushmore and he’s celebrating turning 98. Mr. Nick Clifford, it was an honor to shake your hand, sir. 🎈 ✨ pic.twitter.com/fNp7EyYWN5— Travis J Cummings (@TravisCNews) July 9, 2019