You would think that an international icon like Mount Rushmore would have been named for an individual whose contributions to the development of the West merited such an honor. Pikes Peak is named for explorer Zebulon Pike. Terry Peak is named for the Civil War hero Gen. Alfred Terry.
That’s not the case for Mount Rushmore. It was named for Charles E. Rushmore, a New York attorney who was sent to Dakota Territory in 1884 to do some legal work. One day he and Bill Challis were headed to back to camp, and Rushmore asked if that rock outcropping over there had a name.
"Never had a name but from now on we'll call it Rushmore," Bill said.
But please keep in mind that this particular piece of rock was fairly unexceptional. There are literally thousands of rock outcropping scattered across the West. This one wasn’t particularly high, and not horribly hard to climb.
Who, other than Gutzon Borglum, would have known that the images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were hidden inside that rock? Mount Rushmore was a blank canvas before Borglum turned it into a work of art.