1994 Press Release: Fast Facts About Stone Mountain Park
GEORGIA'S STONE MOUNTAIN PARK Public Relations Department
P. O. Box 778
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30086
404/498-5633 (FAX) 404/498-5607For More Information, Contact K" Thweatt or Mauri Spalding (404) 498-5637
Georgia's Stone Mountain Park encompasses one of the world's most amazing works of nature.Known as a place of scenic beauty, historic remembrance, recreation and enjoyment, following are some little known, yet interesting facts about Georgia's Stone Mountain Park:
* Millions of people visit the Park annually, making it one of the most-visited attractions in the United States.
* Stone Mountain is the world's largest monolith.
* Stone Mountain was formed approximately 300 million years ago by a surge of molten lava beneath the earth's surface. Initially, a two-mile thick overlay of the earth's surface covered the cooling granite. The layer eroded over the next 200 million years exposing the smooth surface of the dome-shaped rock. The mountain is 825 feet high, rises 1,683 feet above sea level and covers 583 acres of land. The surrounding 3,200-acre Park includes woodlands, lakes, recreation areas, museums, and other attractions.
* The Memorial Carving on the north face of the mountain is the world's largest bas-relief sculpture, measuring 90x190, or three acres. The figures of Confederate President Jefferson David, General Robert E. Lee and General "Stonewall" Jackson mounted on horseback depict the South's historic past. In 1912, the Memorial Carving existed only in the mind of Mrs. Helen Plane, charter member of the Daughters of the Confederacy. The first of the three sculptors to work on the project, Mr. Gutzon Borglum began work on the carving in 1923. He left two years later taking his sketches and designs, and went to carve the famous Mount Rushmore sculpture in South Dakota. After remaining untouched for 36 years, the carving was completed in 1972.
* In 1845, the newly completed Georgia Railroad allowed for the extraction of granite from Stone Mountain for commercial use. Granite quarried from Stone Mountain has been used in construction projects throughout the world, including the locks of Panama Canal, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.
* Although no major Civil War battles were fought on the soil of Stone Mountain, Sherman destroyed the Georgia Railroad line between Stone Mountain and Decatur during his destructive "March to the Sea." The Union army came within close range of the mountain when it burned New Gibraltar, the small town at the base of the mountain. Today, the rebuilt town is known as the Village of Stone Mountain.
* The first written records of the mountain date back to 1567 when Captain Juan Pardo of Spain was sent to set up forts in the New World. He and his group believed the quartz surface of what they called "Crystal Mountain" was made of diamonds and rubies.
* Unique clams and fairy shrimp live in clear freshwater pools formed in the craters on the mountain. In addition to these crustaceans, rare plants and flowers, such as the Confederate Yellow Daisy, grow in the mountain's crevices.
* The Park is home to a variety of animals and endangered species; however, there is little wildlife living on the rock itself.
* John W. Beauchamp was the first person to claim ownership of the mountain when he traded with Indians for possession. Later, he traded the mountain to Andrew Johnson and Aaron Cloud for a muzzle-loading gun and twenty dollars. Because half of Georgia and part of North Carolina rest on the mountain's base, it is widely believed that Stone Mountain may be formed like some icebergs--larger underneath the ground's surface than it is above ground.