LOOK: Exploring the South Dakota ‘Tunnel to Nowhere’
South Dakota "Tunnel to Nowhere"
Borglum was fascinated by monuments from other great societies like the pyramids of Egypt. He wanted something that would last as they had - -to be discovered by other civilizations.
He liked the idea of a giant monument with an explanation of what it was, why it was there, and what it stood for in a secret area behind the monument. That was the birth of the Hall of Records idea.
He had an ambitious plan for a whole campus, including a grand staircase leading to the Hall of Records. He saw stately display cabinets with important documents, like the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and more, held within them.
Funding was always an issue for this project. Work would begin and stop according to government and private funding coming and going. Then when World War ll began, Congress let Borglum know they needed the money they had appropriated for the project, for the war effort. So they told him to finish the heads, forget the rest, and that signaled the end of the Hall of Records.
In 1998 Borglum's daughter had a time capsule of sorts buried at the entrance to the tunnel. It contains a "history of the United States and biographies of all four presidents" and her father.