Hudson Valley Man Carved America’s Most Famous Monument
A Hudson Valley man is finally getting credit for carving some of the most complex details on America’s most famous monument.
“For some reason, Mount Rushmore had a policy it was a team effort and everyone should be acknowledged as a team, regardless of role,” Lou Del Bianco told CBS.
However, Lou Del Bianco knew his grandfather, Luigi Del Bianco of Port Chester, was responsible for crafting some of the sculptures most famous details. For over 25-years he has been fighting to get his grandfather the recognition he deserves.
After finding and showing copies of documents from the Library of Congress, where Mount Rushmore’s designer, Gutzon Borglum, called Luigi the stone sculpture’s chief carver, the National Park’s Service agreed to give Luigi Del Bianco credit.
“He is worth any three men I could find in America, for this particular type of work,” Borglum wrote, in documents that Del Bianco’s family members discovered at the Library of Congress, reports the New York Times. “He is the only intelligent, efficient stone carver on the work who understands the language of the sculptor.”
In 1933, Borglum hired Del Bianco to be chief carver on the Mount Rushmore. He was paid $1.50 an hour, which was considered a large sum in those days.
Del Bianco was tasked with carving the most elaborate details on the sculpture, including Thomas Jefferson’s lips and Abram Lincoln’s eyes.
“Luigi Del Bianco, one of the best stone carvers Rushmore ever had, patched the crack in Jefferson’s lip with a foot deep piece of granite held in place by pins- the only patch on the whole sculpture, and one that is hard to detect even close up,” Judith St. George wrote in her book, The Mount Rushmore Story.
Del Bianco was born on a ship near France. His parents were returning from the United States to Italy. At age 17 he moved to America. He returned to Italy during World War I to fight for Italy and came back to the United States after the war, eventually settling in Westchester.
On Saturday, a Luigi Del Bianco plaque will be unveiled at Mount Rushmore, officially crediting Del Bianco as chief carver of the historic monument.
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