There is a very impressive carving on the west side of Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
The largest high relief sculpture in the world, the Confederate Memorial Carving, depicts three Confederate heroes of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The entire carved surface measures three-acres, larger than a football field and Mount Rushmore. The carving of the three men towers 400 feet above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain. The deepest point of the carving is at Lee's elbow, which is 12 feet to the mountain's surface.
The plans for the carving were submitted in 1916 by the same sculptor who later carved the giant faces on Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, Gutzon Borglum. For financial and political reasons, the plans and carving by him did not materialize for Stone Mountain.
I, for one, am glad this didn't happen...he wanted an army of figures carved into the mountain!
In May of 1928, Augustus Lukeman was hired to carve the figures of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. The owner of the mountain, Sam Venable was unhappy about this since he wanted Gutzon Borglum back in Georgia working on the carving. He refused to renew the lease on the mountain and therefore, the carving remained unfinished for the next 30 years...
In 1958, the state of Georgia purchased Stone Mountain and the surrounding land. (The most extraordinary thing- once the deal was done, the state condemned their own property! This was done because the former owner, Sam Venable, had given the Ku Klux Klan the right to hold their meetings at Stone Mountain and condemnation was the only way to relieve the state of this burden.)
The Georgia General Assembly then created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association and the SMMA is still in charge of all the natural and historical areas of the park. "To sustain, enhance, and protect Stone Mountain Park and to provide enriching historical, natural, cultural, and recreational resources for all who visit."
Now, back to the carving...the SMMA chose Walker Hancock to complete the Confederate Memorial. It was determined that the best way to remove the rock was by using thermo jet blow torches. Incredibly, a man by the name of Roy Faulkner, a former Marine who had no previous experience in this kind of work, had a special talent for this and he was able to remove tons of stone in just one day.
The carving is actually much larger than it appears. Workers could easily stand inside a horse's ear or inside a horse's mouth to escape a sudden rain shower. A dedication ceremony for the Confederate Carving was held on May 9, 1970.
The carving on Stone Mountain is impressive, that is true but I just want to make sure that you know this fact: the mountain itself and the land that surrounds it has such incredible natural beauty that it takes my breath away.