Did Port Chester Man Carve Mt. Rushmore?
29 Apr, 2014
By Loop Contributor
A National Memorial in South Dakota appears to have gotten its start here on the Sound Shore. A new book tells the remarkable story of a Port Chester man, Luigi Del Bianco, who was the chief carver of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
And now, NY state Sen. George Latimer (D-37th) is hoping the United States Department of the Interior recognizes the late Del Bianco for his service to the nation.
Below is a press release of Latimer’s statement:
State Senator George Latimer (Democrat – 37th Senate District) thinks it’s about time that the United States Department of the Interior recognizes the late Luigi Del Bianco for having served as chief carver of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
In Carving a Niche for Himself; The Untold Story of Luigi Del Bianco and Mount Rushmore, author Douglas J. Gladstone’s valentine to the obscure Italian American immigrant who served as chief carver at the monument from 1933 through 1940, Latimer, who represents Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, White Plains and Rye in the Senate, says that Del Bianco “showed the love for his adopted country by lovingly sculpting the faces of its greatest heroes.
“This country owes Luigi Del Bianco the love — the recognition — of his accomplishment,” he continues.
A member of the Italian American State Legislators Conference, a bipartisan organization of New York State Assembly and Senate members who are actively involved in promoting and celebrating the state’s Italian-American community, Latimer was elected in 2012.
Featuring a foreword by Italian American businessman Robert Benedetto, the chairman of Benedetto Guitars in Savannah, Georgia, “Carving a Niche for Himself” examines the selfless efforts of professional storyteller Lou Del Bianco, who resides in Port Chester, to honor his late grandfather. The late Del Bianco’s studio was located on Clinton Street; Latimer’s district office is located in Port Chester as well.
Though Rushmore sculptor and designer Gutzon Borglum’s own correspondence in the Library of Congress clearly indicates that Luigi Del Bianco was the glue that held the project together, Del Bianco for some inexplicable reason has never received the credit in scholarly publications or documentaries on the creation of the memorial that many individuals believe he is deserving of.
The book takes the National Park Service to task for its failure to honor Del Bianco, despite the agency touting a long standing policy of pluralism and multiculturalism.
Del Bianco, a native of Meduno in the Province of Pordenone, died on January 20, 1969 of accelerated silicosis that was brought on, in part, by his years of not wearing a mask while working at the monument.