Outdoor Quarry Exhibit, Stone Mountain, Georgia

The “Outdoor Quarry Exhibit” is a “must see” if you ever visit Stone Mountain Park located near Atlanta, Georgia. It plays an important role in the history of Stone Mountain, a place where I have lived for a long time.

1-Stone Mountain Granite Train 300 copy

The writing below this engraving of the train tells an interesting story: “A passenger train known as the “Dinky” brought stone cutters and laborers who lived in the City of Stone Mountain to the quarries around the mountain.”

2-Stone Mtn Quarrymen (19) copy

The railroad you see above replaced the spot that was originally built in 1869 by the Stone Mountain Granite Company. The spur was once connected to the Georgia Railroad and allowed granite to be shipped from quarry cutting sheds to the City of Stone Mountain and to sites around the country.   The spin line around the mountain operated until 1942 when the tracks were pulled up and given in the war metal drive. The rail you see here was part of that spur.

5-Quarry left mark on Stn Mtn copy

Did you know that…

  • ”Throughout the years, 7,645,700 cubic feet of granite were removed from the mountain. This is equal to one-foot-long paving stones stretching from the North Pole to the South Pole (12,444 miles)!”
  • “Granite was shipped all over the world. It was used at the federal gold depository at Fort Knox, the Panama Canal, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, and in the foundation of the Lincoln Memorial, just to name a few. Virtually every state has a building that uses Stone Mountain granite.”
  • “The exhibit also describes the process of granite quarrying at Stone Mountain and the changes in technology over time. It illustrates the monumental contributions of the quarrymen and the industry at Stone Mountain.”
Source: Stone Mountain History, Quarry Exhibit
8-Quarry Splitting Stone Mountain copy

“The earliest record of quarrying activity appeared in the 1849 edition of Statistics of the State of Georgia, which stated that Stone Mountain contained “granite in quantities sufficient to supply the state of Georgia for a century to come.” The 1850 census also listed five men in the town of Stone Mountain as stone cutters, indicating a small but established trade in cut granite.  It is the second common occupation after farming.” Source: Stone Mountain Park Association

4-Blacksmith Quarry Forge

“The pointed tools used by stone cutters required constant sharpening, so blacksmiths were always on site to reheat the iron tools and hammer fresh points on them.  In the early twentieth century, carbide-tipped tools were introduced that did not dull as quickly and could be resharpened on an emery wheel.  Later innovations included the channel burning torch, but by then large scale quarrying was long over at Stone Mountain.  The small operation continued at the mountain into the 1970s still used the methods of fifty years before.Source: Stone Mountain Park Association

4-1-Stone Mtn Quarrymen

11-Raising Ledge Stone Mountain copy

16-Stone Mtn Quarrymen 66 ton copy

10-Stone Mtn Quarry Circa 1928 copy

17-Stone Mtn Quarrymen exhibit thanks copy

Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, March 3, 2013

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15 Comments

Filed under Atlanta, History

15 responses to “Outdoor Quarry Exhibit, Stone Mountain, Georgia

  1. Kev

    Very informational. Generates a kind of Euphoric feeling.

  2. Interesting! I wonder what it does to take so much mountain away 😮

    • I believe they only took a small portion away before the quarrying stopped. The mountain is 825 feet tall with the top of the mountain 1,683 feet above sea level. Questions remain as to how much overlying rock (termed overburden) once covered the mountain: estimated as 2 to 10 miles. Some believe there is still 10 miles more below the ground.(Amazing)…

  3. We lived in Atlanta for two years when I was a kid, and I remember visiting. Such a lovely post!

    • I’m glad you liked the post. I plan to show more of the surroundings and document the history around where I live. Glad you have memories of visiting the park. It’s a great place for hiking to the top of the mountain, walking and exploring. Sometimes I just grab my lunch and head for the park for a breath of fresh air.

  4. What an amazing place with a very rich history.

  5. rimassolosailingaroundtheworldm

    Thank you so much for interesting story

    • You’re welcome. I find the history interesting and it shows a glimpse to others of the world that surrounds where I live. Come back to my site for another visit. You never know what you might find and learn.

  6. What a fascinating place! Quarrying does not still take place there, does it? Is Stone Mountain a nice place to live? (I ask because we are considering relocating to Atlanta)…

    • The quarrying stopped sometime back in the 1970’s. The area around Stone Mountain has changed a lot due to the economy but I still like it since it’s my home and appreciate the natural outdoor environment that the park has to offer.

  7. Very interesting area, one I have never been to. My only contact with Georgia was when we moved from San Antonio to Virginia and drove through it. Someday I would like to see Savannah.

    • A lot just drive through Atlanta on their way to their destinations. I find the history around where I live interesting. Savannah is a nice place to visit and close to the ocean.

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