Stone Mountain Park ( stonemountainpark.com )is located just outside Atlanta, Georgia, and has been a popular tourist attraction for decades. It includes walking paths, picnic areas, museum, and various types of rides. My friend and I made a stop to this familiar landmark, on our way to attend a Road Scholar ( www.roadscholar.org ) program in Florida.
The centerpiece of the park is the famous rock relief carving on its north face, said to be the largest bas-relief carving in the world.
The carving was started in 1925 by Gutzon Borglum, who went on to become famous for carving the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota.
This photo of a different side of Stone Mountain, without a carving, can help one understand the immensity of the undertaking, and perhaps one of the reasons that Borglum abandoned the project. The mountain can look less remarkable when viewed some angles, which may explain why I have no memory of it from my attendance at archery events for the 1996 Olympics, headquartered in Atlanta. The Stone Mountain area was the location of both the archery and track cycling events for the 1996 Olympics.
However, after many decades, and a long string of subsequent carvers/supervisors, the project was finally declared as "complete", on March 3, 1972.
The carving depicts three Civil War figures---General Stonewall Jackson, General Robert E. Lee, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. This photo of the carving from a distance shows why it had to reach 400 feet above the ground, in order to be viewed, as one approached the mountain.
One of the attractions at the park, which is operated by Hershend Family Entertainment Corporation, is the Skyride, shown in the upper left corner of this photo. The Skyride has Swiss-built cable cars that take visitors to the top and back, and pass by the carving on the way. (I am very familiar with the Hershend Family businesses, as they were started in Branson, Missouri, just 30 minutes from where I grew up, when they purchased Marvel Cave, and turned it into a tourist attraction)
For those who want to go to the summit, but do not want to take the cable cars, there is a walk-up trail on the west side of the mountain. Keep in mind that the summit has an elevation of 1,686 feet above sea level, and rises 825 feet above the surrounding ground. If you would enjoy hiking in the area, but do not want to make the climb, there are several other choices available, since the mountain has a 5 mile circumference at its base.
In 2015, there was talk of destroying the carvings, because of their reference to the Civil War. Fortunately, however, the Georgia State Legislature did not authorize their removal, citing the historical significance, and the fact that the same carver who did Mt. Rushmore U.S. Monument, also started this monument.
When the sun hits the mountain at certain angles, it may sparkle. That is because of the quartz monzonite that makes up its dome.
There are several statues around the base of the monument that bring out various significant events in U.S. history. Since pastor Martin Luther King mentioned Stone Mountain in his 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., one of the remembrances has been a bell ringing. In the speech, MLK proclaimed, "Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia."
Since I am from Arkansas, I wanted to take a photo of the monument that tells about my home state during the period of 1861-1865. When thinking about the many Bible verses that have the word "stone" in them, I saw that my Jeremiah Study Bible listed 24 references. The one that seemed most appropriate to go along with a story about my visit to Stone Mountain was in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 that says, "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh,, that is, of the heart." It refers to Paul contrasting the Old Testament covenant of God being written on tablets of stone, i.e., The Ten Commandments. However, with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for my sins, the New Covenant is written on my heart, and seen in my actions. This is one reason I participate in a healthy living program, called First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) . It is a program that constantly reminds me that in order to serve God most effectively, I need as healthy a body as possible! I want to live in a way that is pleasing to God, because that is the best way to be assured of "MILES OF SMILES"! Tricia