Borglum & “Bianco” / Interview: Lincoln Borglum

The following are excerpts from an interview with Gutzon Borglum’s son, Lincoln.

Q: How much of a problem were the cracks and fissures you ran into?

A: the cracks?

Q: Yeah, on the mountain.

A: Ah, well, they’re still a problem… but we had to twist the Jefferson head quite a little bit because there was a bad crack running down through it’s nose. Course we got away from that and the crack comes through the lip, right through here. And that’s the only patch on Rushmore.

Q: A patch on Jefferson, and that was patched with…

A: … a piece of granite, a piece of granite.

Q: A beautiful job, too.

A: Yes, Sal Bianco (Luigi Del Bianco) the Italian stone cutter, mason that was out there did that. It’s about, Oh; I guess it’s about that deep, something like that…

Q: … about a foot…

A: … it’s about that wide…

Q: Ah, about a foot…

A: … and about a foot deep. He cut it in there far enough so that it would be solid. Then he cut another piece…

Q: … did they fit that in them, with pins inside them, or how did that happen…

A: … yeah, pins. He was a real good stone cutter, he was slow but good. Great, big, Italian, name was Bianco, oh; he worked for Dad for years.

Q: I don’t know how many times I went over that face and I never noticed that was a complete block.

A: Yeah, he did a good job of it. He worked there off and on, I don’t know, three or four years he was, he came back from CT and NY, Port Chester, NY family back there. And ah, he’s come out and work sometimes for 4 or 5 months and once he had, he was the only guy working on the mountain…

Q: You mentioned quite a few workers, any other workers that sort of stand out in your memory or come to mind, or who, or was there any one man who was the, really the best worker, you thought?

A: Well, I think it’s about a toss-up, of course Bianco this Italian, was not in that same classification. He was a trained stone-cutter and could carve a statue or something of marble if you wanted him to.

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