Just got back from a 350-ish mile road trip with my friend Alex. It was fun. We wandered about the state to see a handful of historical and/or odd roadside attractions. This is the story. Pics can be seen here.
The first thing that we hit was the ‘Center of the World.’ This was a simple rock monument by the side of the road denoting a centralized meeting spot historically used by the Cherokee Indians. Interesting, except quite lame. As can be seen in the pictures, there’s a factory of some sort that was built immediately behind it. We parked in their parking lot to see it and got a few odd looks. Not really worth the trip, but it was on the way to the next destination.
The Georgia Guidestones are what we were really out to see. I won’t tell their history since I got a picture of the plaque describing it, but it’s a bit odd to say the least. A lot of the locals don’t like them, as also can be seen in the pictures: there’s graffiti and some defacing on there. The big wet looking streaks are a kind of paint someone tossed on there. There are general marker comments about Jesus being the true faith and the like, as well as a few items denouncing the ‘illuminati’ who some believe to have set it up. One item, somewhat comically, seems to have been in green crayon. It’s a weird sort of foot shape thing with the caption “Jesus’ foot stompin pyramid” <sic>.
The weirdest part about being there was the absolute stillness of the place. Not that it seemed sacred or anything, it was just in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. Which was kinda the point.
Next up, the Elberton Granite Museum and Exhibit! OH HOLD ME BACK! We stopped here because it had more info about the Guidestones, but also because they had an old statue with another weird history. In the 1890s, the first commissioned statue from the Elberton granite people was a confederate soldier to honor them. The thing is, he came out looking… really rather comical. As such the locals didn’t like him. They called him Dutchy because they thought he looked like one of the Pennsylvania Dutch. And then one night in 1898, someone took him off the pedastal and they buried him. Well he got left there until 1980 when they decided he was historical, being the first commissioned statue, and dug him up. His legs were broken, but now he’s in the museum. Just outside was the world’s tallest freestanding granite spire cut from a single piece. It’s 51 feet, and… boring.
Here’s the thing about Elberton, and the Granite Museum. In the granite industry, there’s one aspect of it that will keep the business going forever, and that’s tombstones. Which is understandable and honorable: of course people will want a worthwhile monument to remember their loved ones with. But they’re everywhere. Honestly. People will have them in their yards. There are headstones advertising coffee shops and auto repair places. The ‘Welcome to Elberton’ looks like complicated tombstones too. And in the Museum? 80% of the work they show off that’s come out of their granite factories is death related. It’s understandable, but a tad depressing.
Not joking in the least: Those of you in the Atlanta area that want to plan what your headstone will look like? Go to the Museum. They will find you something. In fact they expect you to do so: it has signs all over saying they’ll happily photocopy a picture of one of their works in the gallery books if you want to plan your own based on their stuff. Seriously. It’s a good day trip for the elderly and their next of kin.
Next on the list was the Rock Eagle, a mound in the shape of an Eagle, sort of, made by native americans 1000 to 3000 years ago. Oddly, there are only two of these east of the Mississippi: this one, and another 13 miles away. Anthropologists and archaeologists don’t know what the fuck. The mound itself was interesting, but ended up not being the star of the show. Nearby is a stone tower for folks to go up into for better viewing from the sky. Cool, right?
This is a common destination for school kids. Alex himself had come here with a school trip back in the day. Well, kids being kids, the interior of the tower is positively covered with graffiti: markers show proclamations of love, marking someone’s presence, or just someone who carved their name into the wood. We were able to determine that Ashley and Tina are complete sluts (last names withheld). We studied the art a lot longer than the mound.
Also on the trip was a drive past a former black supremacist cult compound that used to have fake Egyptian buildings all over the place (now entirely gone), and past a white supremacists compound titled “Snug Harbor”, the entrance to which was blocked by a pair of tractor trailers. How’s that for fair and balanced coverage? Didn’t get pictures of either though. Oh well.
All in all, a fun day. Not as fascinating as might have been hoped, but good fun nonetheless.