My Love Affair with Stone Mountain | Eastern North Carolina Now

The loneliest night of my life was beneath a picture of Stone Mountain.

The loneliest night of my life was beneath a picture of Stone Mountain.

    I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. During the 1950s when the cold war was at its height, we would have those mock bomb drills. They were similar to the fire drills that they still have today. The bell would ring and we would be instructed to get under our desks. If you were in the hall, you were supposed to lie down against the floor and the wall.

    Contrary to what some though, the purpose was not to protect you against a nuclear attack. The government already knew what destruction that could cause. The purpose was to limit injury from flying debris and broken glass. In a real emergency, there would be plenty of injuries and preventive measures would allow medical crews to treat the most injured. It was obviously not a good idea to tell a bunch of sub 12-year-old kids that they had slim chances of surviving a nuclear attack.

    Once or twice, we would practice an evacuation drill. It was really a field trip disguised as a drill. Stone Mountain is a large granite mountain located 12 miles from Atlanta. We would get in cars and travel to Stone Mountain. We would then have a picnic. I think the purpose was to assemble as many schools kids as possible in one location. It would make it easier to control in case of a real emergency.

    I have been going to Stone Mountain for as long as I can remember. When my family relocated to Stone Mountain in 1960, I spent many camping nights there. This was before it became a state park. I have climbed all over that mountain on the backside as well as the front. One little know tidbit is that there is a hole on the back side of the mountain that goes straight down about 40-50 feet. I have been down the hole with the help of a rope and friends. I am sorry to say there were no treasures found there and I am glad to say there were also no snakes. No snake could survive for long as there was no exit except back out the top.

    When I was drafted and ready to embark for overseas duty, I went to Stone Mountain during my thirty-day leave. I took several pictures to take with me to remind me of home. By that time, it had become a State Park with various attractions added on a regular basis.

    There are thousands of pictures of the carving on the face of the mountain but the pictures I wanted were of the attractions where I spent time practicing my photography and darkroom skills. The pictures and I survived but the negatives are lost. Here are some scans of the original pictures faded as they may be and with about 20,000 miles and several thousand views under their belt. Funny thing about these pictures. When I look at them now, I don't remember Stone Mountain. I remember that God forsaken place where I lost my innocence.

This is a picture of a reconstructed plantation house: Below.

This is the old Grist Mill: Below.

This is a reproduction of an old time Whiskey still: Below.

They moved a bridge from another location in Georgia and rebuilt across a narrow part of the lake: Below.

    The attractions gave a flavor of the old time south. Today that would be politically incorrect. There is an organization now lobbying to have the confederate generals removed from the carving on the face of the mountain.

    One last bit of Information is quite humorous now but it was not too funny at the time. When I arrived at Oakland Air Force base in California, They assigned me to KP (Kitchen Patrol) duty in the giant mess hall that served both returning and departing GIs. I had all night orderly duty, which consisted of cleaning up the eating area and mopping the floors between eating shifts, which rotated hourly.

    On the wall in the Mess Hall, there was a giant mural of the face of Stone Mountain with the carving. It must have been 20x20 feet. I did not really need my measly 8 x10 pictures of the mountain to remind me of home. That was my last night in the good old USA and one of the longest and loneliest nights in my life. There would be worst nights to come but at least no more murals of the mountain to endure.
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )


( September 2nd, 2015 @ 5:46 pm )
Carving began in 1924. ( Confederate Memorial Carving )
( August 9th, 2015 @ 4:24 am )
Love the old pictures from your past, Bobby Tony. The black and white are a haunting reminder of the old days ... sometimes, the good old days.

Just another day in the life of a Fireman Part 1 Small History, In the Past, Body & Soul Memories - My Travels with Art


Back to Top