The Carving History, Stone Mountain, Georgia

The Confederate Memorial Carving on the face of Stone Mountain in Georgia depicts three Southern heroes of the Civil War.

They are Confederate Presidents:

Jefferson Davis

General Robert E. Lee

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

  • 1909: The idea for this memorial carving began over a hundred years ago.
  • 1915 : Gutzon Borglum‘s vision of the carving featured 7 central figures, the 3 men of the completed carving and 4 others.
  • 1923: The work is delayed.
  • 1925: Borglum’s contract is cancelled and his work is blasted from the face of the mountain by 1928.
  • 1935: Augustus Lukeman took over, but died with his work not completed.
  • *1963: The project resumes with Walker Hancock selected to complete the carving .
  • 1969: The final plans for the completion of the carving and the memorial area is announced.
  • 1970: The giant carving is finally dedicated with the finishing touches and scaffolding coming down in 1972.
  • 1977:  Two bronze statues designed by Hancock, named Sacrifice & Valor, were installed by the reflection pool underneath the face of the carving on Stone Mountain.
Source: Stone Mountain Memorial Assoc. Historical and Environmental Education Center, Confederate Hall, brochure & history

*Special Note:

In 1963, based upon recommendations by the Advisory Committee, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association chose Walker Kirkland Hancock of Gloucester, Massachusetts to complete the carving. Work resumed in 1964, and a new technique utilizing thermo-jet torches was used to carve away the granite. Chief carver Roy Faulkner, a marine veteran with a talent for using the new thermo-jet torch, was able to remove tons of stone in one day. For over eight years Park guests could see and hear the workmen and their jet torches”.


Images taken inside Stone Mountain Park’s Memorial Hall  where you will find a museum and an “exhibit” telling the history  of the carving.

Stone Mountain Exhibit 054

Stone Mountain Exhibit 065

Stone Mountain Exhibit 057

Stone Mountain Exhibit 090Stone Mountain Exhibit 047

Stone Mountain Exhibit 040-Men who carved 2Stone Mountain Exhibit 088Stone Mountain Exhibit 079

Below is a recent photo that I took of what the carving on the face of Stone Mountain looks like today.


Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, March 16, 2013


Filed under Atlanta, History

15 responses to “The Carving History, Stone Mountain, Georgia

  1. What a rich, informative post. Thank you for the likes on the sinus mineral tea recipe and prologue to my other blog My Holistic Table last month.

  2. I love this memorial, hope to see it myself one day.

  3. Kev

    I won’t pretend that I thoroughly read through all of your posts, but one’s like this I really enjoy and find quite enlightening. 🙂

  4. I too enjoyed this post. It is a beautiful sculpture and I can appreciate the design winning the competition where all others had a ‘safer’ solution. It usually is the most unique idea that wins a competition and this was probably very unique to the area.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. After reviewing the history of its beginnings and seeing what could have been, it would have been nice to see the full sculpture finished. But, what was accomplished was certainly an achievement and will be there for generations to see.

  5. Good that the horses got some of the attention in the carvings 😉

  6. That is cool looking. I’ll have to get there someday to see it.

  7. Hi Mary
    Very interesting post – I think it’s interesting how society will carve and preserve its great (white) men in stone. I recently saw 4 very large painted panels of the founding and later economic expansion of Victoria and all the quite monumental portraits were of earnest (white) men engaged in great civil activities – with just one woman in the background at a typewriter. I suppose this is they way we tend to write our history. It was not until relatively recently for example that Elizabeth Macarthur was recognised as the person who bred and adapted the Merino sheep in Australia and not her Governor husband (who spent most of his time out of the country but was credited with and in fact adorned our banknotes for some time for ‘his’ achievement.) Similarly it has only belatedly been widely acknowledged that indigenous leaders such as William Barak showed true integrity in negotiation, determination for peace and vision in the shaping of Victoria.

    • Yes, history is an interesting subject. It’s all around us with the achievements of many,including women, around the world. It’s good to know they are acknowledged leaving legacy for future generations.

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