Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stone Mountain Park Georgia

Even though we had been camped at Stone Mountain RV Park since Monday we had to wait to tour the park until Thursday as this time of year most of the park is closed Monday-Wednesday. 

Stone Mountain as seen from the RV Park

It was worth the wait.

We took the Summit Skyride to - the summit (too out of shape and lazy to walk up). It is a rise of 825 feet from bottom to top and if you happen to be in the right spot during the ride you can get a good view of the carving - it is easier to get a good view from the ground. What carving you ask? The carving on the side of the mountain of course. The mountain is a huge hunk of granite and what huge hunk of granite does not want to be carved?

Once at the summit we had 360 degree views of the surrounding area including a hazy view of Atlanta. 

Monte on the summit with Atlanta in the background

Hazy Atlanta - and this is probably as clear as it gets
It amazes us how a tree can grow in such a harsh environment.
When asked, the tree replied "Dirt?  I don't need no stinkin' dirt"
There is quite a bit to do here and like most amusement parks - those things are geared toward kids. We toured a museum that told the history of the mountain from pre-historic times until the present, rode the train around the base of the mountain - 5 mile circumference - and watched a 4-D movie and toured an antebellum plantation and farmyard. But the real attraction for us was the carving and its history.

The carving is on the north face of the world's largest exposed granite monolith.  It is 400' above the ground, 190' wide, 90' tall and recessed 42' in to the mountain covers 3 acres and is the largest bas-relief sculpture in the world. 

The carving depicts 3 leaders of the Confederate States of America. From left to right, Jefferson Davis, only president of the Confederacy on his horse Blackjack, General Robert E. Lee on Traveller, and General Stonewall Jackson on Little Sorrel. (as an aside - we have seen Little Sorrel in person - he was sent to a taxidermist and is on display at VMI).
Just thought this was pretty cool with the 2 contrails

It is hard to visualize how huge this really is. It is
larger than Mt. Rushmore.  Each head on Rushmore is 60' in height
and this is 90' (the sculpture not the entire carved out area). 
This will give some perspective as to just how large the sculpture is.  This
is a cast of just a little bit of one of the horses heads.
A carving was originally designed by Gutzon Borglum of Mount Rushmore fame. He made a design in 1915 but work did not start until 1923. In 1924 Lee's head was unveiled and in 1925 the project was abandoned. Later in 1925 another sculptor was hired to complete the project and he made a new design and promptly blasted Lee's face off of the mountain. In 1928 the project was once again abandoned. In 1958 the State of Georgia purchased the mountain and in 1963 Walter Hancock was selected as the sculptor. The carving was dedicated in 1970 and finally considered complete in 1972.

Granite that was quarried from Stone Mountain has been used in the steps of the US Capitol, the locks of the Panama Canal, the Depository at Fort Knox, the Capitol Building in Havana Cuba, and a bunch of other places. Granite is no longer quarried here.

There is a ton more history involved with the mountain - some of it not so good and involving the KKK. But I won't go in to all that. If you are interested - Google it!

We enjoyed our stay in Atlanta. I must say - the city has come a long way since that little incident when Sherman marched to the sea.

Time to move on west.



Lois said...

Nice pictures Shelley! I love Stone Mountain and even have pictures of me as a baby being held by my mother in front of that carving. I remember going there with my grandfather when I was a kid and wondering when they were ever going to finish it.

~Cheryl said...

How very interesting! Love the reflection photo.