Good News in History, October 31

Good News in History, October 31


75 years ago today, workers completed one of the great sculptural feats of the 20th century—the carving of four presidents into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. The sculpture brings in millions of visitors to the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota to see the 60-foot-high (18m) heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. A local historian, Doane Robinson dreamed up the idea, but he wanted the monument to feature western heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody…



The sculptor, Danish-American Gutzon Borglum, decided the sculpture should have a more national focus and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. The project began with several years of dynamiting, blowing up more than 450,000 tons of rock before the chiseling began, which used a combination of facing bits and jackhammers. (Click to enlarge photos)

More Good News on this Date:

  • Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on a church door, initiating the Reformation (1517)
  • Scottish physician and writer Arthur Conan Doyle published The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a detective modeled on Doyle’s former university teacher (1892)
  • The Battle of Britain ended, and prevented a German invasion (1940)
  • After 14 years of work, drilling was completed on Mount Rushmore (1941)
  • Roman Catholic and Lutheran church leaders signed a Doctrine of Justification, ending a centuries-old dispute over the nature of faith and salvation (1999)
  • Soyuz TM-31 launched, carrying the first crew-in-residence to the International Space Station, which has been continuously crewed since (2000)

And, Happy Birthday to Dan Rather, who turns 85 years old today.


Also, on this day in 1860, Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA, was born. After being educated in East Coast boarding schools, and earning badges in a secret sorority club, she married and moved to Scotland. Her many interests and varied skills were predictive of Girl Scout badges. When she returned to her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, she made a phone call to her cousin Nina, saying, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight.” Shortly after, in March 1912, she formed the first two American Girl Guides patrols.



Before starting Girl Guides in America, which she renamed Girl Scouts, Juliette had learned shorthand, bareback riding, hunting partridge, painting and poetry, putting on plays, sewing – she made clothes for the poor, woodworking, metalworking, and nursing. She designed and built iron gates for her home in Warwickshire. For her first Girl Guide groups, in Scotland, she encouraged the girls to become self-sufficient by learning how to spin wool and care for livestock. She also taught them knot tying, how to read a map, knitting, cooking, and first aid, and had her friends in the military teach the girls drilling and signaling, and camping.