History

Pre Carving

1838

Aaron Cloud built the first tourist attraction on the top of the mountain. The wooden tower was 165 feet tall with a 40 foot square base. There was a $0.50 charge to climb the tower.

1849

The tower blew down during a storm and was never rebuilt.

1865 - 1877

Reconstruction rebuilds the railways and in turn restores tourism and Stone Mountain’s quarrying industry. Granite is 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.

1887

The Venable Brothers bought all of Stone Mountain for $48,000 and ran the quarrying operations.

1915

Gutzon Borglum, a famous sculptor, drew up the first sketches of the memorial, for Mrs. Helen Plane, a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). She was the first person to talk about putting a memorial carving on the mountain.

1916

Samuel H. Venable leased the north face of the mountain to the UDC on the condition that a suitable monument be completed in 12 years. Lack of funding and World War I delayed the start of the carving until 1923.

During Carving Construction

June 23, 1923

Carving begins on Stone Mountain.

1924

Borglum finished the head of Robert E. Lee and unveiled it on Lee’s birthday, January 19.

Feb. 19, 1924

Committee overseeing the construction of Stone Mountain votes to cancel Gutzon Borglum’s contract, following Borglum’s outburst in the local papers over problems with the project. Borglum went on to carve the figures on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

April 1, 1925

Sculptor Augustus Lukeman takes over the project. He suggests that three men, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, be enshrined on the face of the mountain. 

April 9, 1928

After blasting Gutzon Borglum’s work from the face of the mountain, Augustus Lukeman unveils his work.

May 20, 1928

The Venables reclaim Stone Mountain, ending any attempt to complete the sculpture. Lukeman was only able to get the figures of Lee and Davis finished before this time.

1944

First Easter Sunrise Service first held.

April 11, 1956

The Venable family signs a quit claim deed for the area encompassing Stone Mountain, giving it to Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, Inc.

1958

The State of Georgia purchased Stone Mountain and the surrounding land to create a 3,200 acre park. Focus was placed on development for recreation and entertainment and the completion of the carving.

Feb. 21, 1958

Gov. Marvin Griffin signs a bill creating the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, superseding the old Authority.

Sept. 19, 1958

Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, Inc. gives Stone Mountain to the state of Georgia.

April 12, 1962

The Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad opens at Stone Mountain Park.

April 26, 1962

The first Stone Mountain train, General II, pulled out of the station.

Nov. 28, 1962

The Skylift opens at Stone Mountain Park. Governor Ernest Vandiver and Swiss Ambassador August Lindt attend the ceremony.

April 16, 1963

The Antebellum Plantation opens at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park. 

1963

The Antique Car and Treasure Museum and Confederate Hall opens at Stone Mountain Park.

July 4, 1964

Carving resumes on the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial. It was under the direction of Walter Hancock. Roy Faulkner was the work crew foreman.

1964

  • The Carillon is donated by the Coca-Cola Company after its exhibit at the World’s Fair in New York City.
  • The Riverboat Complex opens for the first time.

April 14, 1965

Stone Mountain Park officially opens, operated by Berlio of Georgia, Inc. 

1965

  • Construction on the Stone Mountain Inn is completed. 
  • The Grist Mill and Covered Bridge are moved to Stone Mountain Park from Elijay, GA and Athens, GA respectively.

1967

The Fantastic Fourth Celebration first held.

1968

  • An 18-hole Golf Course designed by Robert Trent Jones opens.
  • Beach opens at Stone Mountain Park.
  • Yellow Daisy Festival is first held at Stone Mountain Park.

May 9, 1970

Dedication services are held for the carving although work continues through 1972. Vice president Spiro Agnew attends instead of President Nixon.

After Carving Construction Complete

March 3, 1972

The Stone Mountain Carving is completed.

1972

  • Highland Games first held.
  • The First Tour of Southern Ghosts opens.
  • The First Frontier Days- Georgia Between the Wars event is held.

1976

The Scarlett O’Hara Riverboat is built at Stone Mountain Park.

1977

Water slide added to beach; sports complex with mini-golf, tennis and roller skating opens.

1979

The Great Miller Lite Chili Cook-off first held.

1983

  • The Lasershow Spectacular first shown on the north face of Stone Mountain.
  • Ice Chalet, The Animal Forest (designed by Wild Kingdom’s Jim Fowler) and Mountain Top Theater opens.

1986

The New Memorial Depot for Scenic Railroad built.

1989

The Evergreen Resort completed; additional 18 holes of golf added to the golf course.

1994

New golf clubhouse, The Commons, is built.

July 1996

Centennial Summer Olympic Games events are held at the park. Stone Mountain Park was the venue for tennis, cycling and archery. The new aerial tramway opens, and the top of the mountain complex was renovated.

July 18, 1996

3:00 a.m. the Summit Skyride (formerly the Skylift) transported the Olympic torch before heading to downtown Atlanta for the opening ceremonies.

1997

Memorial Hall is renovated and Discovering Stone Mountain Museum opened.

Herschend Family Entertainment Ownership

1998

Herschend Family Entertainment selected to manage the commercial aspects of Stone Mountain Park as part of privatization effort.

1999

The Indian Festival & Pow Wow event and AtlantaFest first held.

2001

  • The Great Barn® opens.
  • Farmyard is opened as part of the Antebellum Plantation.
  • The Outdoor Quarry Exhibit opens.

2002

1870s town of Crossroads opens along with demonstrating crafters, Georgia's first 4D Theater, and several shops & restaurants.

October 2002

The First Annual Pumpkin Festival is held.

November 2002

Stone Mountain Christmas opens as “A Southern Christmas”

March 2003

Kid’s Spring Break festival first held.

2003

Olympic archery range & velodrome site restored to a songbird habitat.

2004

  • Ride The Ducks™ tours begin. 
  • The Treehouse Challenge opens.
  • Major renovation of Confederate Hall as an Environmental Education Center and museum on the mountain's geolgy and ecology.

November 2005

A Southern Christmas renamed to A Stone Mountain Christmas.

June 3, 2006

Extreme Summer Adventure festival & Camp Highland Outpost opens.

April 2007

Tour de Georgia bicycling race finishes stage seven inside the park.

May 2007

Animal Planet Summer Adventure opens.

May 2008

SkyHike®, the nation's largest family adventure course, opens.

May 3, 2008

Debut of digitally remastered 25th Anniversary edition of the Lasershow Spectacular.

July 2008

Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf opens.

December 31, 2008

Snow Mountain opens.

May 2011

Debut of the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision®.

March 2012

Stone Mountain Park opens Geyser Towers®.