Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stone Mountain Carving

 
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The Confederate Memorial Carving on the face of Stone Mountain is one of the largest bas relief sculptures in the world and depicts three Confederate leaders of the War Between the States, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. They are riding their favorite horses, Blackjack, Traveller, and Little Sorrel. The entire carved surface measures 3 acres, a little larger than a football field. The carving rises about 400 feet above the ground and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain. I took this picture while my grandson and I were standing near the fountain located directly under the carving.

The idea for the carving on the face of Stone Mountain was first brought up by Helen Plane, a Confederate widow whose husband had fought with General Robert E. Lee during the War Between the States and had died at the Battle of Gettysburg. Mrs. Plane was president of both the Atlanta chapter and the national organization of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Plane felt it was their duty to preserve the memory of the Confederacy and honor its leaders. She conceived the idea of honoring the late General Robert E. Lee with a carving on the largest piece of exposed granite in the world, Stone Mountain. In 1914, the idea took off with a few powerful endorsements in local newspapers and artist Gutzon Borglum was contacted by Mrs. Plane in June 1915. Borglum visited Stone Mountain and originally envisioned a much larger carving. The $8 million cost proved too much for the United Daughters of the Confederacy and they eventually approved spending $250,000 for Borglum to complete the central figures. Not much work had been done by the time the United States entered World War I in 1917 and problems continued after the war resulting in the original artist being fired. A new artist, Augustus Lukeman, was hired in 1925. He began work the following year, but in 1928, disagreements with the owner of Stone Mountain surfaced resulting in another halt to work on the carving. The carving sat uncompleted for the next 35 years. As early as 1940, the state of Georgia expressed an interest in acquiring Stone Mountain, but the process was not completed until 1960. In 1963, men once again scaled the half-completed mountain to prepare for carving. Actual carving began on July 11, 1964 and by the following Thanksgiving, the canvas tarp over the carving was removed, exposing the work to date. The unveiling had not been announced, but word quickly spread that the carving was visible and crowds began to flock to the mountain. Vice President Spiro Agnew attended the dedication of the carving of Stone Mountain on May 9, 1970. The carving was officially declared complete in 1972.

15 comments:

B SQUARED said...

Never been there. May have to stop by on my way south this Fall.

Darla said...

so pretty.

Costea Andrea Mihai said...

impressive place!! regards

Small City Scenes said...

Wow that is truly amazing. MB

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

very interesting carving. such an undertaking. I am glad you are enjoying the Sedona photos on my website. I hope all is well

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Interesting history. I did not realize that it was so new when my parents drove us through there about 1970. With the glorification of Confederate Generals, I am glad that there is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historical Park in downtown Atlanta to commemorate not only him, but the history of the civil rights movement. Julie and I visited it several years ago while in Atlanta on business.

Jacob said...

Well, thank you for this. I learned a great deal from your post. It's quite a carving, although I have problems "honoring" the Confederacy...

By the way, Blogger is not allowing me to publish any comments whatsoever! I don't know what the problem is but from what I can find out it appears to be world-wide.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I appreciate your effort to leave a comment on my blogs, but Blogger isn't making life easy for anybody today. I am leaving this after reading the entire text of your stone mountain carving. I did not know that so many different folks worked on it.

Kaori said...

You can't really tell how large the actual relief is but three acres? I'm pretty sure it's bigger than I can imagine! Wow!

Rambling Round said...

Really amazing carving, isn't it?

Halcyon said...

Really impressive! Maybe I need to see this for myself.

Lucy the Cat said...

Seeing it more detail makes it even more amazing. It sure took a long time for completion. Great picture and very interesting history.

VP said...

Impressive and well done!

Lisa Wilson said...

That's amazing! I don't think I've ever heard of it!

Clytie said...

Absolutely fascinating. Most of the pictures I've seen are similar to this one - which makes me think back to your LAST post, which showed how tiny this area is in comparison to the actual mountain. It is truly humongous and amazing!