RAPID CITY, S.D. — The last living worker who helped construct Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota’s Black Hills has died.

Donald “Nick” Clifford of Keystone, South Dakota, was 98. His wife, Carolyn Clifford, says he died Saturday at a hospice in Rapid City.

At 17, Nick Clifford was the youngest worker hired to work at Mount Rushmore. He operated a winch that carried workers up and down the mountain where the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were carved, and he drilled holes for dynamite.

The Rapid City Journal reports that Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln, decided in 1938 to field a baseball team and hired Clifford, who already was a veteran pitcher and right fielder.

Clifford worked on Mount Rushmore from 1938-40, earning 55 cents an hour.


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