2. Carving Stone Mountain, 1918-1972

Confederate Leaders on Stone Mountain: President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
Photograph of Sculptor Gutzon Bolgrum
Stone Mountain Memorial Half Dollar

Dublin Core


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 Plane," planned and promoted the project. In two years, the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Association (SMCMA) contracted the well-known sculptor Gutzon Borglum.[1] In 1915, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) leased the land from Samuel Venable the owner of Stone Mountain, and Borglum began the project in June 1923.[2]

In November 1915, Borglum traveled throughout the South, promoting the unfinished project and seeking financial support to complete it. In 1923 a group of businessmen took control of the project, creating the Stone Mountain Association. In January 1924, Borglum unveiled a partially carved head of Lee on the general's birthday in front of a multitude of about 20,000. After a falling out between Borglum and the UDC, Augustus Lukeman took over the project but could not complete it because the UDC lease ran out in 1928. The financial hurdles faced by the creators of the relief sculpture of Stone Mountain State Park were a lack of funding. On January 21, 1925, the U.S. Congress under the direction of President Calvin Coolidge authorized "the U.S. Mint's coinage of five million silver half dollars," especially created by Borglum to raise money and memorialize the engraved soldiers. Similarly, the Stone Mountain Confederate Monument Association (SMCMA) made and sold songs and poems to support the project. Besides, Borglum, the UDC, and Samuel Venable, the mountain owner, accused SMCMA of mismanagement of funds, theft, corruption, and involvement with the Ku Klux Klan.[3]

For the next 30 years, the memorial was incomplete, and the Venable family owned the property. By 1958, Georgia created Stone Mountain as a tourist attraction and commissioned Walter Hancock to continue the memorial's carving and create a park. George Weiblin worked to complete the carving along with Roy Faulkner as a chief carver facing extreme weather.[4]


Gutzon Borglum 1916- 1925, Augustus Luckman 1925-1928, Walker Kirkland Hancock in 1963-1972; commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy


[1]  Grace Elizabeth Hale, "Granite Stopped Time: The Stone Mountain Memorial and the Representation of White Southern Identity," The Georgia Historical Quarterly, 82, no. 1 (1998), 22-44, http://www.jstor.org.lib-proxy.fullerton.edu/stable/40583695 (accessed December 10, 2020).

[2] Charles Reagan Wilson, “Stone Mountain,” The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, 4, (2006), 264-66,  https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469616704_wilson (accessed December 8, 2020), 264-66.

[3] Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in The South, 1890-1940 (New York: Vintage, 1999), Kindle, 5109-5130.

 [4] Charles Reagan Wilson, “Stone Mountain,” The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, 4, (2006), 264-66,  https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469616704_wilson (accessed December 8, 2020), 264-66.




Dominic Guerrero




Granite -Base Relief


Hist 402 [FALL 2020]


Stone Mountain, Georgia