TIME photography

Meet the Man who has Photographed Mount Rushmore for Eight Decades

The monument turns 90 years old on March 3. 'People change...but the mountain stays the same,' says Bill Groethe

Bill Groethe was only a baby when Congress first passed legislation authorizing the establishment of a monument to “America’s founders and builders” at Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, on Mar. 3, 1925. When the work of carving began — an event celebrated by President Coolidge, who wore a cowboy outfit to the ceremony in 1927 — Groethe was too young to care very much.

But that didn’t last long. Groethe, who is now 91, grew up and still lives and works in Rapid City, S.D.. He has seen the monument evolve over the years, and not just with his eyes: Groethe has been photographing Mount Rushmore since 1936.

“The first time I went up to the mountain as an assistant was in 1936 when Franklin Roosevelt was here to dedicate the Jefferson figure,” Groethe tells TIME. “I carried the film bag for my boss. I was 13 years old and I have pictures of me standing by the [president’s] limousine.”

Groethe, who grew up next door to the man who owned what was then his town’s only camera shop, got his first camera at age 10 and ended up working for the photographer Bert Bell by trading his labor for photo supplies. Bell had been sent to photograph South Dakota by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in order to drum up interest in tourism and ended up settling in Rapid City.

Courtesy of Bill GroetheBill Groethe holds a camera during his time as a photographer for the Army Air Corps in WWII.

Groethe apprenticed for Bell beginning in 1935 and began to take his own photos with a folding Kodak in 1937. Groethe worked for Bell for another two decades (with the exception of three years during World War II when he was photographer for the Army Air Corps). In 1957, he opened up his own photography business. Groethe also ended up inheriting files from before his own time, of early Mount Rushmore construction; he has thousands of those negatives, from which he still makes prints.

All these years later, Roosevelt’s visit to Rapid City — the occasion for Groethe’s first trip up Mount Rushmore — ranks among his favorite memories of monument. He remembers that people came from several states nearby to attend. TIME noted the following week that the crowd nearly doubled the town’s population. “At a signal from Sculptor Borglum’s daughter, his son, across the valley, dropped the flag, revealing an heroic head of Jefferson, 60 feet from crown to chin,” the magazine reported. “Simultaneously five dynamite blasts sent rock clattering down from the space where Lincoln’s face is to be carved.”

Courtesy of Bill GroetheBill Groethe with his 8×10 camera in front of Mount Rushmore, c. 1990s.

What Groethe remembers of that day is a little different, though no less exciting. “When you’re 13 years old you’re thinking mostly of being lucky to have a job and get to go along and go up in the cable car,” Groethe says. “I continue to have that interest in the mountain, of course. It means a lot to me. I still get a good thrill out of seeing the mountain. It hasn’t changed much. People change and facilities change, but the mountain stays the same.”

Mount Rushmore has not been without its detractors. The mountain is considered defaced by some, for reasons relating to the environment or Native American traditions. But Goethe says that, in his experience, the arguments against the monument don’t take away from its grandeur.

“I can attest to the fact that when I sit at a table [at Mount Rushmore], as I have for the last almost 20 years every week for a day or two in the summer, I have people from Europe and all over Asia come and tell me that all their lives they’ve wanted to come and see Mount Rushmore,” he says. “It’s an international symbol of freedom.”

Read TIME’s original story about FDR’s trip to Rapid City, here in the TIME Vault: Roosevelt & Rain

TIME architecture

Why the Washington Monument Has ‘Shrunk’ By 10 Inches

US-WEATHER-STORM
Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images A jogger passes the Washington Monument on a cold blustery morning January 27, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Symbol of the nation's capital loses a little of its stature

The Washington Monument now stands 10 inches shorter than when it was completed in 1884, or at least that’s what a new government measurement announced Monday suggests.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used new technology to calculate the monument’s height at 554 feet 7 and 11/32 inches. But in 1884, the towering obelisk was measured at 555 feet 5⅛ inches.

What’s behind the incredible shrinking monument? A difference in the way the measurement was conducted likely accounts for most of the difference, according to NOAA. Engineers today used international standards to measure from the “lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance” to the structure’s peak. It’s unclear what standard engineers used when the monument was first built.

“We have to be cautious in comparing this new height to the historic one, since we do not know precisely the actual starting point that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Col. Thomas Casey used in 1884,” said Dru Smith, a NOAA scientist. “Today’s elevation reflects the international standards for measurement of a building’s height as well as considerable technological improvements.”

The change in height not due to the difference in measurement standards is likely three-eighths of an inch, according to a report in the Washington Post. That change is likely due to wear and tear to the monument’s cap.

MONEY Holidays

Money Lessons From the Presidents

Lincoln on penny and Washington on Quarter facing one another on black background
Getty Images

Not only are these men on the money, they were pretty good with it too.

Presidents’ Day is a great holiday for learning about American history, but it could be a good day for financial lessons as well. That’s because Washington and Lincoln—the two presidents most closely associated with the holiday—weren’t just great figures. They’re also members of a select group of foundational leaders who were notably savvy money managers.

While Jefferson and Hamilton died deeply in debt, Hamilton so much so that his funeral doubled as a burial fundraiser, Washington and Lincoln are veritable financial role models. Here’s how America’s first president out-invested his political peers, and how the Great Emancipator saved his way to wealth.

Diversify like George

If there was one investing trick Washington mastered, it was diversification.

During the 18th century, Virginia’s landed gentry got rich shipping fine tobacco to European buyers. So rich, in fact, that when the bottom fell out of the market in the 1760s, few plantation owners thought to change their strategy. Thomas Jefferson, a fellow Virginian, famously refused to move away from his longtime investment and went deeper and deeper into debt as tobacco prices plummeted.

George W. wasn’t so foolish. He knew which way the wind was blowing, and decided an overdependence on a single failing asset wasn’t the best business strategy. “Washington was the first to figure out that you had to diversify,” explains Willard Sterne Randall, biographer of multiple founding fathers. “Only Washington figured out that you couldn’t rely on a single crop.”

After determining tobacco to be a poor investment, Washington switched to wheat. He shipped his finest grain overseas and sold the lower quality product to his Virginia neighbors (who, historians believe, used it to feed their slaves). As land lost its value, Washington stopped acquiring new property and started renting out what he owned. He also fished on the Chesapeake and charged local businessmen for the use of his docks.

The president was so focussed on revenues that at times he could even be heartless: When a group of Revolutionary War veterans became delinquent on rent, they found themselves evicted from the Washington estate by their former commander.

Save like Abe

It’s no surprise that someone with Abraham Lincoln’s upbringing would know the value of a dollar. Harold Holzer, an acclaimed Lincoln historian, describes the future president’s poverty as so severe that “until his stepmother arrived on the scene when he was six years old, he didn’t even have a wooden floor.”

From these humble origins, Lincoln emerged as a frugal man who lived on relatively modest means until his entrance into politics. According to Holzer, young Lincoln spent time as a shopkeeper, postmaster, and even considered applying his considerable strength to blacksmithing before finding success in law and politics.

As Lincoln’s fame increased, so did his income. Holzer puts his attorney’s fee at as much as $5,000 per case, and he earned $25,000 per year as president. But despite his newfound wealth, the president was never tempted to overspend. On the contrary, he appears to have become an obsessive saver . “When he died he had several uncashed salary warrants in his desk drawer, and he saved $90,000 in four years, so he didn’t spend a lot,” Holzer says, “and that included sending a child to Harvard and Harvard Law School.”

Unlike many politicians, Lincoln’s frugality extended even to public money. He became furious upon learning that his wife, Mary Todd, had blown her budget on upgrades to the White House, and as David Herbert Donald records in his biography of the president, all but exploded when asked to seek additional funds from Congress. No more money would be approved for “flub dubs for that damned house!” Lincoln roared. “It would would stink in the land,” he explained, to have spent $20,000 on furnishings “when the poor freezing soldiers could not have blankets.”

Read next: Financial Lessons of America’s Founding Fathers

TIME Presidents

George H.W. Bush Released From Hospital

Former president George H. W. Bush attends an NFL football game between the Houston Texans an Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 23, 2014, in Houston.
Patric Schneider—AP Former president George H. W. Bush attends an NFL football game between the Houston Texans an Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 23, 2014, in Houston.

"He is now resting at home, grateful to the doctors and nurses for their superb care"

Former President George H.W. Bush was released from Houston Methodist Hospital Tuesday, a week after he was checked in as a precautionary measure due to shortness of breath.

“He is now resting at home, grateful to the doctors and nurses for their superb care,” a Bush spokesperson said in a statement.

Doctor’s said that the 90-year-old, who celebrated his recent birthday milestone by skydiving, returned to normal breathing on Monday.

TIME Presidents

George H.W. Bush’s Breathing Returns to ‘Normal’

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
Bob Levey—Getty Images Former President George H.W. Bush attends a game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Houston, Texas.

Bush Sr. spent Christmas in a Texas hospital.

Former President George H.W. Bush has had his breathing return to “normal,” though he remained in the hospital overnight awaiting a final okay from his doctors, his spokesperson said Monday.

“Both President and Mrs. Bush wish to thank everyone for their good wishes and prayers,” spokesman Jim McGrath said in a tweet.

Bush, the oldest living President, was hospitalized last Tuesday as a precautionary measure after experiencing shortness of breath. He spent Christmas at the Houston Methodist Hospital, where he was in “great spirits.”

The former President, who has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a wheelchair, recently celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving under a red, white and blue parachute.

TIME White House

Former President George H.W. Bush Spends Christmas in Hospital

George H.W. Bush, Mike Elliott
Robert F. Bukaty—;AP Former President George H.W. Bush, left, strapped to Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a retired member of the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, land on the lawn at St. Anne's Episcopal Church after making a tandem parachute jump near Bush's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, Thursday, June 12, 2014.

Even so, his day was "terrific" and spent with family

Former President George H.W. Bush is in “great spirits” despite spending Christmas in a Houston hospital, to which he was taken by ambulance for shortness of breath two days earlier, his spokesman said.

Bush was brought to Houston Methodist Hospital on Tuesday and is being kept there as a precaution, Reuters reports. The 90-year-old, who will also spend Thursday night in the hospital, was visited by his wife, Barbara, son Neil and daughter-in-law Maria Bush.

“President Bush had another terrific day and is in great spirits,” Bush’s spokesperson, Jim McGrath, said in Thursday in an emailed statement. “He asked that his sincere wishes for a very Merry Christmas be extended to one and all.”

McGrath added that the former president’s “prognosis was good” and that continued hospitalization was just precautionary.

The 41st president last suffered a health scare two years ago, when he was hospitalized for bronchitis and at one point thought to be near death. Nevertheless, Bushy, who has Parkinson’s disease and uses a wheelchair, recently celebrated his ninth decade by skydiving near the Bush family’s summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

TIME Presidents

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush Hospitalized as Precaution

George HW Bush Sr.
Lance King—Getty Images Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush looks on during a game between the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., on Jan. 18, 2014

The 90-year-old Texas resident is being hospitalized just as a precaution, his office said

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was brought by ambulance to a hospital in Houston on Tuesday night, a precautionary measure after experiencing shortness of breath, his office said in a statement.

The 41st President ”will be held for observation, again as a precaution” at Houston Methodist Hospital, the statement said.

The White House said in a separate statement that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been made aware of Bush’s hospitalization. The two “send their good wishes to the former President and the entire Bush family during this holiday season,” read the statement.

Bush, who is 90-years-old, recently celebrated his ninth decade by skydiving under a red, white and blue parachute.

TIME justice

Bill Clinton Says Eric Garner ‘Didn’t Deserve to Die’

The Thelonius Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition And All Star Gala Concert
Michael Tran—FilmMagic/Getty Images Bill Clinton speaks onstage during The Thelonius Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition and All Star Gala concert held at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. on Nov. 9, 2014.

“He was selling untaxed cigarettes on the street in small volumes, trying to make a little extra money."

Former President Bill Clinton is set to address the Eric Garner case in a Tuesday interview with cable TV channel Fusion, saying that the unarmed black man from Staten Island, N.Y. did not deserve to die for allegedly selling cigarettes on the street.

“He was doing something he should not have been doing. That was illegal,” Clinton said during the interview. “He was selling untaxed cigarettes on the street in small volumes, trying to make a little extra money. But he didn’t deserve to die because of that.”

Clinton spoke to Fusion during the Clinton Foundation’s “Future of the Americas” summit in Miami last week. Protests have continued in the days since a New York City grand jury opted not to indict a white police officer who subdued Garner in what appeared to be a chokehold, leading to his eventual death. The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, has denied using a chokehold.

Read more Selma Cast and Crew Wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts to New York Premiere

Over the weekend, thousands of protestors took to the streets in Washington, D.C. and New York to show their discontent with the way police often treat brown and black people.

Clinton added there are “preconceptions wired into us and we have got to get beyond them,” when talking about race relations in America.

The full interview is set to air on Tuesday at 10p.m.

[Fusion]

Read next: Poll: 57% of Americans Say Grand Jury Wrong Not to Indict Cop in Garner Case

TIME Presidents

George W. Bush Says Bill Clinton Is His ‘Brother From Another Mother’

An unlikely bromance

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton broadcast their unlikely bromance on social media Tuesday when Clinton posted a picture of himself reading Bush’s new book.

Clinton’s #HowAreYouStillNotOnTwitter hashtag is a reference to his President’s Day tweet this year, which ribbed the younger Bush for not having an account. This time, Bush responded. He posted Clinton’s tweet on Instagram with the caption, “Thanks, 42! Hope you like the book about your pal, #41. #HowAreYouSTILLNotOnInstagram #PresidentialGrammers #BrotherFromAnotherMother”.

This is not the first public display of affection between the two former presidents. Clinton often refers to himself as the “black sheep son” of the Bush family, and Bush challenged Clinton to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge earlier this year. Their bipartisan friendship is all the more remarkable given that Clinton beat Bush’s father, President George H. W. Bush, in the 1992 election, ousting Bush Sr. after only one term in office.

TIME Foreign Policy

All the Presidents’ Looks: 9 Pictures of Commanders-in-Costume

It’s not every day when the pageantry of leading the free world looks so specifically like an actual pageant. But indeed, when Presidents of the United States don the traditional garb of the country they’re visiting, just about anything can happen.

From the hilariously uncomfortable (Putin, Bush, ponchos) to the kind-of-awesome (Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s colorful threads in Ghana), here’s photographic evidence that sometimes diplomacy requires more wardrobe changes than a Cher concert.

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