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.
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.”
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.
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.”
“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
“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
Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, March 3, 2013