The carving was 'completed' in 1979, and the park surrounding it has been developed into a famous attraction. Included below are the American Guide Series and is the Wikipedia articles about the memorial.
Description: Colossal bas-relief sculpture carved on north face of mountain depicting three heroes of the Civil War, from left to right, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. All are seen on horseback, in profile, in 3/4 view, holding hats over their hearts with their proper right hands. All are dressed in military uniform.
Remarks: Calls for a memorial began in 1909, and in 1915 Mrs. Helen Plane, a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, suggested having a 70 foot statue of General Robert E. Lee carved on the mountainside. Gutzon Borglum was hired in 1915 as carving consultant, and in 1916 was appointed carving sculptor by the Stone Mountain Monumental Association (an independent organization chartered by the UDC). Borglum's original design plans for the memorial called for seven major figures accompanied by an army of "thousands." He estimated the memorial would cost three million dollars and take ten years to build. The Samuel H. Venable family, who owned the land, deeded the north face of the mountain to the UDC in 1916, with the stipulation that the memorial be built within twelve years. Because of World War I and funding delays, carving on the memorial did not begin until 1923. Borglum used photographic equipment to project a sketch on the mountain and dynamite for blasting. By January 1924, he had completed the face of Lee, over 10,000 attending the unveiling held on January 19, 1924. As part of the publicity and fund-raising campaign, a memorial half-dollar coin was designed by Borglum, depicting Lee and Jackson seated on horseback. Reportedly over a million dollars was raised towards the cost of the memorial.
In 1925 because of a dispute with the Association, Borglum left the project taking all sketches and models with him. (The original $250,000 contract had called for the execution of five figures within three years). Augustus Lukeman was hired as a replacement, and Borglum's face of Lee was chiseled away for a new carving. Lukeman's new design showed Davis, Lee and Jackson on horseback followed by an army marching out of the solid rock. Lukeman and a team of eight carvers used pneumatic drills to carve the faces of Lee and Davis, and block out Lee's horse Traveller, which were unveiled on April 9th, 1928. Funds for the project gave out however, and in May of 1928, the Venable family reclaimed their property and all work on the monument stopped. Lukeman died in 1935; Borglum in 1941.
In 1952, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill authorizing purchase of the mountain and surrounding land and the Park Authority commissioned Julian H. Harris, an Atlanta sculptor, to submit a design for completion of the memorial.
In 1958, the State of Georgia purchased the mountain and surrounding land and formed a Stone Mountain Memorial Association to oversee completion of the memorial. In 1963, on advice the committee, Walker Hancock was chosen to complete the carving. Work resumed in 1964 with thermo-jet torches. George A. Wieblen (operator of the Stone Mountain quarry) assembled a work crew and Roy Faulkner was hired as foreman. Faulkner stayed on for the next eight years to complete the carvings according to Hancock's instructions. The carving was continued from Lukeman's master model, with some changes made by Hancock. Changes included stopping the monument below the riders' knees; eliminating the "army" that was to follow the three central figures, lowering the head and neck of General Lee's horse (so that more of President Davis could be seen), and replacing the campaign hat Lukeman had designed for Davis, with a civilian hat. Hancock also modeled a new head of Stonewall Jackson, closer to photographs of the General taken just before his death. A dedication ceremony for the Confederate Memorial Carving was held May 9, 1970. Finishing touches on the memorial were completed in 1972.
IAS files contain Willard Neal's, "Georgia's Stone Mountain," 1970; and excerpt from Franklin Garrett's "Atlanta & Environs," Univ. of Georgia Press, 1988, pg. 591-595. IAS files contain brochure "Carving and History of Georgia's Stone Mountain," Dec. 1991; article from Atlanta Journal/Atlanta Constitution, Oct. 11, 1993, pg. B3; and copy of Official Guide to City of Atlanta, compiled by Convention & Tourist Bureau, c. 1926.
"Stone Mountain (1,686 alt.), 158.4 m, is the largest exposed granite dome (L) in North America. The mountain rises 650 feet above the surrounding Piedmont Plateau, is about two miles long, has a circumfence of more than seven miles at the base, and is estimated to weigh about 1,250,000,000 tons, although geologists believe that the mass appearing above ground is only a fraction of the entire granite formation. Its gray, almost bare, elliptical surface is given a greenish cast by the profuse growth of moss and lichen.
According to geologists, Stone Mountain was formed about two hundred million years ago as a subterranean molten mass, and its gradual apperance above earth's surface has been due to erosion of the overlying soil. Running throughout the dome in two principal directions and giving the surface a streaked apperance are crevices formed probably by the contraction of the rock in cooling. The sides of the mass have been streaked by iron oxide and organic matter carried down by rain water from the top.
Before Georgia was settled, Stone Mountain had been used as a signal tower by the Indians of this section. In 1790 Alexander McGillivray, the half-breed Creek chief, met here the tribesmen who were to accompany him to New York to treat with Government officials. By 1825 white settlers had a stagecoach terminus at the mountain and a hotel at the western base. The place became a popular resort, and before 1842 Cloud's Tower, 165 feet high, was erected on the summit to afford visitors broader views of the surrounding country. The mountain was in the possession of various white owners until 1880, when it was acquired by Samuel Hoyt Venable, who quarried the granite for use in construction of bridges, buildings, and roadways. In the 1920's the Ku Klux Klan held state-wide conclaves on the top of the mountain.
Until recent years there remained upon the crest some large boulders piled in regular formation and believed by some to have been the ruins of an old fortress or perhaps a sacrificial altar used by some prehistoric race. To prevent injury to the workmen carving the Confederate Memorial on the sheer northeastern wall, most of the loose stones were rolled down the mountainside.
The unfinished figure of Robert E Lee on his horse Traveler measures from the crown of the general's hat to the hoof of his mount 130 feet, approximately the height of a ten-story building. Appearing in rough outline are the head of Jefferson Davis (L) and that of Stone-wall Jackson (r). Tons of granite, removed during the carving, form a pile reaching from the base of the mountain almost to the foot of the memorial.
Across the road from the memorial is a small museum, where information is given and souvenirs are sold. The museum contains a model of the project work and plaster molds of some of the figures, including those of Lee, Jackson, and Davis. A study of these working models reveals some of the difficulties of the sculptors; against so vast a background the figures need to be of gigantic size and require an appreciable change of scale from head to foot, since the feet are so much nearer the eyes of the spectator.
In 1915 the United Daughters of the Confederacy invited Gutzon Borglum to consider the practicability of carving on the mountain a colossal figure of General Rober E Lee. The plan he submitted portrayed Confederate forces, led by their generals, seemingly emerging from a depth within the surface. The plan was accepted and the Stone Mountain Monumental Association organized. Samuel H Venable, with his sister, Mrs Frank T Mason, and his nieces, Mrs Priestly Orme and Mrs Walter G Roper, donated the northeastern side of the mountain, a gift valued at more than $1,000,000, and on May 20, 1916, it was dedicated as a memorial.
Before carving began in 1923, the workmen had traced the outlines of the giant figures from a photograph projected upon the mountain side. Thei projection, one acre in size, was made from a two-inch stererpticon slide by a means of a specially prepared triple-lens projection lamp. Daily thereafter Borglum was suspended by steel cables over the mountainside, where he not only closely supervised the work of his artists and stone cutters but also did much of the carving himself. On January 19, 1924, the head of Lee was unveiled.
Soon afterward a violent quarrel disrupted the Stone Mountain Monumental Association. Borglum, unwilling to have his unfinished work completed by anyone else, destroyed all his working models except a completed figure of Jefferson Davis and left the monument on which he had worked for seven years. The association engaged another sculptor, Augustus Lukeman, who began work on his placid, classical design of soldiers going across the face of the mountain. When another head of General Lee had been completed, the earlier work was blasted away. By this time the funds had been exhausted and public enthusiasm had cooled.
The site for a new memorial has been offered to the city of Atlanta by Venable and his associates. Gutzon Borglum has created a new design and the state has endorsed the project, but no work has yet (1939) been undertaken."
--Georgia: a Guide to its Cities and Countryside, 1940
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Close-up of carvingThe largest bas relief sculpture in the world, the Confederate Memorial Carving depicts three Confederate leaders of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (and their favorite horses, "Blackjack," "Traveller," and "Old Sorrel," respectively). The entire carved surface measures 3 acres (12,000 m2), about the size of three football fields. The carving of the three men towers 400 feet (120 m) above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet (58 m), and is recessed 42 feet (13 m) into the mountain. The deepest point of the carving is at Lee's elbow, which is 12 feet (3.7 m) to the mountain's surface.
In 1912, the carving existed only in the imagination of Mrs. C. Helen Plane, charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). The Venable family, owners of the mountain, deeded the north face of the mountain to the UDC in 1916. The UDC was given 12 years to complete a sizable Civil War monument. Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to do the carving, and he with the Stone Mountain project.
Borglum abandoned the project in 1923 (and later went on to complete Mount Rushmore). American sculptor Augustus Lukeman continued until 1928, when further work stopped for thirty years.
In 1958, at the urging of Governor Marvin Griffin, the Georgia legislature approved a measure to purchase Stone Mountain for $1,125,000. In 1963, Walker Hancock was selected to complete the carving, and work began in 1964. The carving was completed by Roy Faulkner, who later operated a museum (now closed) on nearby Memorial Drive commemorating the carving's history. The carving was considered complete on March 3, 1972.
On many summer nights the mountain is home to the Lasershow Spectacular which uses popular and classic music to entertain park guests with a large fireworks and laser light display. The show is a patriotic tribute to the southern United States and the country as a whole. The American Civil War is acknowledged, but the strength of a reunited country concludes the message, with Sandi Patti singing the Star Spangled Banner. There are still old favorites included with the show, “Devil Went down to Georgia”, “Celestial Soda Pop”, and “Trilogy”. There have been several additions to the show for its 25th anniversary.