Carved in Stone: The History of Stone Mountain
Often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World, Stone Mountain is the largest exposed mass of granite in the world. Sixteen miles east of Atlanta the 825-foot dome rises to 1,683 feet above level. The northern face of the mountain is a perpendicular cliff nearly fifty stories tall -- the world's largest piece of sculpture, where ride gigantic carved figures of three Confederate heroes, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson.In 1915 the United Daughters of the Confederacy leased the land and commissioned Gutzon Borglum, later the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, to carve the Lost Cause memorial on the mountain where the second Ku Klux Klan was resurrected by William J. Simmons. Proceeding intermittently over six decades, the project was given added impetus in the wake of the South's massive resistance to racial integration. Capitalizing on this impulse, the state of Georgia funded the completion of the project in 1958 for use as a tourist attraction. Opening as a theme park in 1970, Stone Mountain now draws some five million visitors a year, exceeded only by the Disney theme parks in Orlando, Florida.
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