Charles E. Rushmore

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Charles Edward Rushmore (December 2, 1857 – October 31, 1931) was an American businessman and attorney for whom Mount Rushmore is named. Born in New York City, he was the son of Edward Carman Rushmore and Mary Eliza (née Dunn) Rushmore, of Tuxedo Park, NY. He was married to the former Jeanette E. Carpenter.[1]

In 1883, a tin mine, the Etta, was opened, which caused excitement among Eastern investors.[2] In 1885 Rushmore was in the Black Hills of South Dakota to check the titles to properties for an eastern mining company owned by James Wilson. Although an Easterner, Rushmore quickly made friends among the miners and prospectors. One day he was returning to headquarters of the Harney Peak Consolidated Tin Co., Ltd., located at Pine Camp, which was north of the great granite peak soon to bear his name. With him were a local business man, and William W. Challis, a prospector and guide. As they neared the mountain, Rushmore turned to Challis and asked its name. Challis jestingly replied: "Never had any but it has now - we'll call the thing Rushmore."

According to rancher Jerry Urbanek, Rushmore returned to the Black Hills annually to hunt big game. One day, while accompanied by Ted Brockett of Keystone, South Dakota, Rushmore asked the name of the mountain and was told that it was Slaughterhouse Rock. Rushmore joked that his annual treks to the Hills had earned him the right to have the mountain named after himself. "So just for the hell of it," Urbanek claimed, the locals started calling the hill Mount Rushmore.[3]

Whatever the precise story, the United States Board of Geographic Names officially recognized the name "Mount Rushmore" in June 1930. Forty years after the initial 1885 naming, Rushmore donated $5000 towards Gutzon Borglum's sculpture of the four presidents' heads on the mountain - the largest single contribution. The Memorial was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge on August 10, 1927.

Rushmore was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and of Kane Lodge No. 454, F&AM (NYC).


  1. ^ Bill Bryson (1 October 2013). "21". One Summer: America, 1927. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-385-53782-7.
  2. ^ Parker, Watson, and Hugh K. Lambert. Black Hills Ghost Towns. First ed. Vol. 1. Chicago, IL: The Swallow Press Incorporated, 1974. 88. 1 vols. Print.
  3. ^ Mae Urbanek, The Uncovered Wagon (Denver: Sage Books, 1958), 97.