On June 18, 1923, work was started on the central group. General Lee was selected as the first to be carved. In honor of the occasion, Governor E. Lee Trinkle of Virginia and members of his staff came to Atlanta to participate with Governor Thomas W. Hardwick of Georgia in the exercises. A great multitude of people, assembled in front of the mountain, heard speeches delivered through an immense brass megaphone from a platform 300 feet below the summit.
Mr. Borglum's first step was to paint on the precipice an outline of the figures of the central
group. This was done by means of a powerful projection lantern especially designed and made
for this purpose and donated to the Memorial by Edwin Porter of the Precision Machine
Company. A small stereopticon slide, containing an outline of the figures, reproduced the lines
on the precipice 1,000 feet from the lantern in enormously magnified scale. Men suspended by
steel cables with buckets of white paint and wide brushes painted these outlines at night.