Stone Mountain: The World's Largest Confederate Monument

Dublin Core


Stone Mountain: The World's Largest Confederate Monument


     After the 1821 Treaty of Indian Springs, the first European Americans began to settle at the base of the mountain, officially naming the town Stone Mountain in 1847. The construction of railroad lines connecting Atlanta and other cities such as Augusta through Stone Mountain made the town a prominent visitor attraction in the 1850s. [3] During the Civil War, the Battle of Atlanta (1864) took place near Stone Mountain along the railroad heading west towards Atlanta, a critical campaign in the taking of Georgia by Union troops. [4] The mountain did not gain national attention; however, until the 1910s, when it became the chosen location of what would become the largest Confederate monument in the world.
     Carved on Stone Mountain is 90 feet high by 190 feet wide, 360 feet square-framed Confederate Memorial carving. [5] The memorial an ode to white southern origins, features the 'three heroes of the American Confederacy,' Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The memorial took 56 years to complete, from its initial planning in 1915 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to its completion in 1972. [6] In the years of its construction, the memorial became a site of contention due to the Ku Klux Klan's involvement in the project, developers struggle to fund and complete the carving, and for its cultural meaning. As Grace Hale argues in her book, Making Whiteness, the memorial significance took shape within the peak of its construction. The completion of the monument amidst the civil rights era came to signify a national representation of the lost cause narrative, a symbol of white supremacy. [7]
     Today, Stone Mountain Park is the most visited attraction in the state of Georgia. The park contains a large, wooded area, two lakes, and various visitor amenities, including a hotel, campground, golf course, and seasonal programming. The park's advertisements illustrate the place as a family-friendly attraction, featuring a Confederate monument and not as a park built around a Confederate monument. [8] In recent years, the park has come into the national spotlight again, as local and national campaign seek the removal of the memorial carving and changes to park’s attractions. [9]
     The items a part of this collection recounts the idea behind the Stone Mountain monument, the process of carving the mountain, the opening and reception of the memorial carving, and its transformation to the present day.


Gutzon Borglum 1916- 1925, Augustus Luckman 1925-1928, Walker Kirkland Hancock in 1963-1972


1. "Stone Mountain." In The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 4: Myth, Manners, and Memory, edited by WILSON CHARLES REAGAN, 264-66. University of North Carolina Press, 2006. Accessed December 14, 2020.

2. “Environment and History of Stone Mountain Park.” Stone Mountain Memorial Association. Accessed December 14, 2020.

3. “Stone Mountain.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. Accessed December 14, 2020.

4. “DeKalb County.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. Accessed December 14, 2020.

5. Essex, Jamey. ""THE REAL SOUTH STARTS HERE": WHITENESS, THE CONFEDERACY, AND COMMODIFICATION AT STONE MOUNTAIN." Southeastern Geographer 42, no. 2 (2002): 211-27. Accessed December 14, 2020.


7. Hale, Grace Elizabeth. 2002. Making whiteness: the culture of segregation in the south, 1890-1940. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

8. Stone Mountain Park. “Explore Stone Mountain Park.” May 29, 2014. Video, 3:42.

9. Estep, Tyler. “Panel will weigh how to ‘bring Stone Mountain Park into 21st’” The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, November 16, 2020.


Stone Mountain Park Opens: April 14, 1965 (monument not completed)
Monument Dedication: May 9, 1970 (Figures on sculpture are complete, official commemoration)
Construction Completed: 1972


Victoria Garcia, Dominic Guerrero, Clay Kenworthy, Fernando L. Lopez




Base-Relief Sculpture


HIST 402A Fall 2020


Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

Collection Items

4. The Evolution of Stone Mountain (1970- Present)
Over the years, Stone Mountain Park has evolved into a premier travel destination. Under the guidance of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA), a State of Georgia authority established in 1958 to manage the park independently, all additions…

1. The Idea Behind Stone Mountain
The surrounding area of Stone Mountain has always attracted human settlement for thousands of years. Native Americans from the nations of the Cherokee, Creek and Muscogee had long settled the area at around 8,000 years before white settlers moved in…

2. Carving Stone Mountain, 1918-1972
In 1914, the carving of Stone Mountain faced financial issues while turning a mountain into a memorial, William H. Terrell, an Atlanta attorney along with "the United Daughters of the Confederacy's Atlanta chapter leader Caroline Helen Jemison…

3. Stone Mountain Opening and Public Reception
The Confederate Memorial Carving at Stone Mountain was originally to be unveiled on the centennial of the Civil War in 1961, but the carving was not completed in time.[1] Stone Mountain Park officially opened on April 14, 1965, the centennial of…

The Injustice of Stone Mountain
After the protest of the murder of George Floyd, many of the Conferate flag and other confederate symbols. The enormous monument at the center of the park - Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into stone as a Confederate…
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