Friday, January 29, 2010

Stone Mountain Park - Atlanta, Georgia

Stone Mountain on the outskits of Atlanta has been an object of fascination to me since I first saw it as a kid with my parents.

Once incorrectly billed as the largest granite monolith in the world, the mountain definitely looks like it should hold that title. The sight of the huge granite dome rising above the trees as you approach is unforgettable. There is a reason the old phrase "as solid as Stone Mountain" has such meaning in the South. The mountain has given up its rock for many of the finest courthouses, capitols and monuments in the South.

Stone Mountain has also witnessed a remarkable amount of history. Ancient Native Americans erected unusual stone walls on its crest that are thought by archaeologists to have served ceremonial functions. The walls are gone now, but are interpreted by displays atop the mountain. The mountain was one of the few major Georgia landmarks that Sherman couldn't destroy. One column of the Union general's army camped within site of Stone Mountain during the March to the Sea. With the smoke and flames rising from Atlanta dominating the western horizon, numerous soldiers paused from their work of burning, foraging and generally "making Georgia howl" to admire the beautiful mountain.

It was during the early 20th century that the United Daughters of the Confederacy conceived the idea of permanently honoring three Southern heroes - Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson - with a massive carving on the face of the mountain. The project was begun by the sculptor who went on to create the huge carvings of the presidents on Mount Rushmore and took more than 50 years to complete, but stands today as the largest carving of its type in the world.

To learn more about the history of Stone Mountain and the beautiful park that now surrounds it, please visit

No comments: