Monday, February 22, 2010
Stone Mountain, Georgia - History Written in Granite
Once thought to be the largest such granite outcrop in the world, Stone Mountain has witnessed the passage of thousands of years of Georgia history. Ancient Native Americans, for example, built mysterious stone walls atop the mountain. The purpose of these walls, which do not seem to have been designed as fortifications, is not clear, although most researchers now speculate they were ceremonial in nature. No trace of them remains today.
During the Civil War, the mountain was a key stop on Sherman's March to the Sea. Numerous soldiers describe stopping to admire the view of the impressive mountain of stone, even as they torched local barns and took every scrap of food they could find, leaving hard-working Georgia families to starve.
In later years, the mountain provided a source for granite during the construction boom that followed the Reconstruction years. Stone Mountain granite can be found in public structures and monuments across the South. The term "As Solid as Stone Mountain" became symbolic of the spirit of the New South.
The face of the mountain now displays the world's largest bas-relief carving. The figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson ride on horseback across the face of the mountain, frozen in time.
Stone Mountain Park is a popular tourist destination. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/stonemountain.