Mountains to Monuments is the theme chosen to capture the plans we have for Polk over the next five years between FY 2018 and FY 2023

Inspired by the history of Mt. Rushmore, dating back to the 1920’s when the official historian for the state of South Dakota, Doane Robinson, committed to a goal of luring more tourists to the Black Hills region of the state. The Black Hills are a small but majestic mountain range that rise out of the Great Plains. Mr. Robinson knew to get people to travel the poor roads and difficult terrain to this northern state would take something impressive.

He ultimately persuaded Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum to travel to the Black Hills region to take on the job of carving something magnificent into the mountain that would have national appeal.

“I want to create a monument so inspiring that people from all over America will be drawn to come and take a look and go home better citizens.”— GUTSON BORGLUM, 1927

Borglum wanted Mt. Rushmore to represent the first 150 years of the nation’s history, so he decided to carve four key presidents into the granite:

Our 1st president represents the FOUNDATION of the country and creation of the United States of America after the revolutionary war.

Represents the expansion GROWTH of the country for doubling size of the U.S. with the Louisiana purchase. Jefferson saw a vision of what the country could be beyond the 13 colonies. (Interesting fact: he was originally planned on the left of Washington, but was blown up and put on right due to unstable granite.)

Represents the preservation of the country, its values and CULTURE through our country’s toughest time – the civil war and the equal rights of its citizens.

Represents the development of the country as a world power and taking us into the FUTURE by connecting the east with the west thru the Panama Canal.

From this story comes the four key elements on which our future will be built – FOUNDATION, GROWTH, CULTURE and FUTURE

Borglum thought big and dreamed big – so it is no surprise that each president’s head would be 6 stories tall – by carving the presidential portraits into the granite “he fully intended for the memorial to endure, like Stonehenge, long past peoples understanding of it.”

After removing 800 million pounds of rock by over 400 men over a period of 14 years (and zero fatalities), Mt. Rushmore was finally complete. Recently, Mt. Rushmore celebrated its 75th birthday and the fulfillment of Robinson’s original goal of creating something so impressive that it would attract more tourists to South Dakota – today over 2 million visitors a year make the trek to the Black Hills.

“I want to create a company so inspiring that people from all over will be drawn to come be a part of what we are building, and will be better off for having worked with our company.” —FRAN McCANN, 2017

Since we have already proven we can climb mountains (set big goals and accomplish big goals), it is time to start thinking about where we go from here and how we leave a legacy or lasting monument that will endure and memorialize our accomplishments “long past people’s understanding of it”.

Although a monument is generally a statue or other structure erected to commemorate a famous person or event, in this case our monument will serve as a reminder in the present for the elegant picture of our envisioned future. It will be a commemoration in advance of our notable accomplishments and is about something bigger than just a one year plan. We will move from conquering mountains to building monuments… Mountains to Monuments, 2018.