50 things you might not know about Stone Mountain Park

Steve Buckner gets ready to tee off near Stone Mountain Lake in Stone Mountain Park where he and a friend took in a morning of golf on Friday, March 12, 2021.(John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Stone Mountain is in the news a lot. And not just for controversy, it’s host to many of the region’s great events.

How much do you know about the big hunk of rock?

1. The historical carving on Stone Mountain is the world’s largest bas-relief sculpture and features a trio of Southern generals and their horses: Jefferson Davis on Blackjack, Robert E. Lee on Traveler and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on Little Sorrel.

2. Robert E. Lee’s likeness measures the equivalent of nine stories.

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3. Jefferson Davis’ thumb measures the same size as the typical sofa.

4. The overall carving area, including the rough portion, measures 190 feet tall and 300 feet wide. Its figures are taller than those on Mount Rushmore.

5. Stone Mountain Park is home to the world’s biggest portion of exposed granite.

Fireworks are displayed at Stone Mountain Park on Thursday, July 1, 2021. (Christine Tannous / christine.tannous@ajc.com)
Christine Tannous, AJC Freelancer

6. By calculated “guestimate,” Stone Mountain weighs more than 1 trillion pounds.

7. Granite originally mined from Stone Mountain appears all over the world from places like the Georgia Capitol building to the U.S. Capitol to the Panama Canal and Fort Knox. Frank Lloyd Wright also put it into use for Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel. Because it was constructed of granite, the hotel was one of just a few buildings that made it through the 1923 earthquake.

8. Workers in the granite quarry were skilled stonecutters from countries such as Scotland, England, Wales, Sweden, Norway and Italy.

9. The mountain measures more than five miles around at its base.

10. On a clear day, you can see more than 40 miles from the top of the mountain.

11. The natural district, the undeveloped area of Stone Mountain Park, is home to a Covered Bridge built in 1892 and originally spanned the Oconee River in Athens.

12. The Washington W. King bridge is one of four surviving structures which the King family, prominent in the Black business community in several Georgia cities in decades past, was responsible for constructing.

13. The natural district also is home to a century-old Grist Mill, which came to the park from an original location near Ellijay.

14. There are 15 miles of trails for walking and hiking.

15. The Songbird Habitat and Trail was previously the site for the 1996 Olympic archery and cycling competition.

Stone Mountain Park worker, James McGhee (shown here) and crews decorated the bridges spanning over Stone Mountain Lake with Christmas garland on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)
John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com, AJC Freelancer

16. You can see many species of birds in the park, including eastern bluebirds, northern cardinals and white-breasted nuthatches.

17. Dogs and cats are welcome in the park in certain areas as long as they are leashed.

18. Some of the trees that can be seen on the mountain are eastern red cedar, loblolly pine, black cherry and Georgia oak.

19. Shrimp live on the top of the mountain. The depressions there gather water seasonally, and shrimp inhabit these pools from spring to fall when there’s enough water. They leave tiny eggs in the soil when the pool dries up, and their young are able to hatch when the area receives adequate rain again.

20. The park is a natural habitat for a variety of animals, insects, reptiles and birds, including fox deer, hawks, coyotes, woodpeckers, turkeys, raccoons, salamanders and snakes, along with numerous fish species in the park’s manmade lakes.

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21. A variety of plants can be seen throughout the seasons. They include trout lilies in late winter and ephemeral species that grow for a short time in the forest understory in spring. Lichen species grow on the granite and can wear away depressions, allowing for soil to gather and support moss, then plants and finally, trees.

22. The confederate daisy is also called the “Stone Mountain yellow daisy” because it is only found in a 60-mile radius of Stone Mountain. It was discovered as a new species in 1846. After a rainy spring and summer, the mountain is scattered with the flowers, which grow on the granite outcrops in shallow soil.

23. Stone Mountain Lake is manmade and covers 323 acres.

24. Native American people once farmed what would become park land. They also traded with British, Spanish and French in the area.

25. Want to feel sheep’s wool or a pig’s hair? Children can pet the farm animals at the Historic Square.

Crowds gather as the sun rises on top of Stone Mountain during the 76th annual Easter Sunrise Service on Sunday, April 17, 2022. The popular event returned to the park after two-year hiatus because of the pandemic.Sunday, April 17, 2022. Miguel Martinez/miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com
Miguel Martinez, AJC Freelancer

26. The Historic Square is a reconstruction of an antebellum plantation. It originally opened in 1963.

27. Built in 1790, the Thornton House at the Historic Square is the state’s oldest restored house.

28. The Square includes an assortment of historical buildings circa 1793 to 1875 from around the state. Visitors can see the working cookhouse and period furniture.

29. Stone Mountain Park is home to a custom-made carillon. It was built by the Coca-Cola Company for the New York World’s Fair in 1964.

30. The carillon, which stands 13 stories high, began with 610 bells and later acquired an extra 122 for a current total of 732.

31. Stone Mountain Park is the only place in Georgia to hear daily electronic carillon concerts. They are at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Sundays and at noon and 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

32. Between 1942 and 1945, more than 20,000 DUKW vehicles, known as the Ducks, were produced and built by women. Visitors to Stone Mountain Park can ride in replicas of these vehicles.

33. These amphibious vehicles allow guests to experience the park on land or in one of its several lakes.

34. Guests can travel nearly a half-mile roundtrip on the Skyride.

35. On July 18, 1996, at 3 a.m., the Skyride transported the Olympic torch to the top of the mountain before it headed downtown for the opening ceremonies.

10 things you might not know about Stone Mountain Park

36. The scenic railroad offers a five-mile trip around the mountain on a 1940s locomotive.

37. The Laser Show Spectacular has been a fixture at Stone Mountain Park since 1983 and is the longest running laser show in the world.

38. The park’s Skyhike feature is one of the nation’s biggest adventure courses built to serve families.

39. The Historical and Environmental Education Center offers a look at the mountain’s ecology and geology with videos and interactive exhibits.

40. Visitors to the education center can experience a life-size cave that contains an exhibit on the mountain’s origins.

41. Park visitors can learn about the industry that shaped Stone Mountain’s history with some 7,645,700 cubic feet of granite having been taken from the area and shipped for use around the world.

42. The park is host to festivals and events year-round.

43. The park’s Fantastic Fourth celebration has been recognized in prominent publications as an outstanding place to see fireworks.

44. Stone Mountain Park has been hosting the Yellow Daisy Festival, a nationally known arts and crafts show, for more than 50 years.

45. Stone Mountain Park has 12 pavilions.

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46. The campground is among the largest in the state with over 400 sites.

47. Depending on where their sites are situated, campers can enjoy amenities like laundry facilities, grills and fire rings, and Wi-Fi and cable hookups.

48. The Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort, a full-service hotel in the park, allows families to combine an overnight stay with attractions tickets.

49. The historic Stone Mountain Inn has 92 spacious rooms.

50. Stone Mountain Golf Club includes two courses, the Stonemont Course, which Robert Trent Jones Sr. built, and the Lakemont Course, which John LaFoy designed.

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