SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND SOME SUGGESTED ANSWERS

In the process of formulating a development concept for the Park, questions such as the following arise.

What kind of image should the Park project in its advertising and to its visitors? Should the dominant impression be one of public service or of private gain?

Related to this is the question of whether the objective of the Park is to provide high-level education and inspiration, or simply to entertain. There are aspects of both approaches in the Park at present, and this tends to create some confusion in the minds of visitors as to how to behave and what they should expect to receive from their visit.

Another type of question relates to the length of stay. Should the Park be considered primarily as a day-use facility, or should it be considered also as a vacation area to which people come for visits of two, three, or more days, staying overnight in the Park or vicinity while there? Related to this is the question of whether the Park should be designed primarily to attract people from nearby areas, or whether it also should seek a national and international market.

Even more basic are questions relating to the memorial aspects of the Park. Should the memorial be confined to the carving and the developments at the base of the mountain, or should the Confederate Museum, the Battlarena, the Plantation, and in fact the entire Park also be considered as part of the memorial? And, of extreme importance, what should the Park commemorate? Should the story which is told be limited to the four years during which the Confederacy existed, or should the Park seek also to commemorate ideals and concepts of the South which had their origins long before this period and which, rather than disappearing in 1865, have become a permanent part of our American life and character?

And, finally, what should our aspirations be concerning Stone Mountain Park? Should we consider the Park a success when visitations are at a certain level and economic self-sufficiency has been reached? Or did the General Assembly and the people of Georgia have more noble aspirations in mind when they began this development? What should be our basic objective? How should success be measured?

In seeking answers to these questions extensive discussions were held with the management of the Park and with a private consultant who was brought to the Park to study it and make recommendations. Consultations also were held with the Recreation Economics Division of Stanford Research Institute and with officials of EXPO 67, the International Exhibition to be held in Montreal in 1967.

Personal visits were made to Callaway Gardens, Disneyland, Six Flags Over Texas, Golden Gate Park, Colonial Williamsburg, and Jamestown Festival Park, and consultations were arranged with key management officials of these developments. The basic concept studies for the Seattle World's Fair, EXPO 67, and other major recreation-education exhibitions were obtained and reviewed.

Finally, the above questions were fully discussed with Walker Hancock, the sculptor who has been chosen to complete the carving and to design the memorial at its base.

Out of this analysis and these discussions some answers have emerged They are presented here for the consideration of the Association. In essence, these answers constitute the assumptions upon which the rest of this report is based.

First, and perhaps foremost, Stone Mountain Park must be notable. It would be a disservice to the half-century of effort which already has been expended, to the many individuals and organizations who have been involved in its development, to the General Assembly and the people of Georgia who have provided the funds, and to the grandeur of the Mountain itself to have anything other than the very highest of aspirations for the Park.

Success for Stone Mountain Park should not be measured in numbers of visitors or in operating income alone; it also should be measured in terms of the kind of impact it has on visitors and upon those who read and hear about it In the eyes of all who come in contact with it, the Park must be as outstanding a development in its field as Disneyland is in the field of amusement parks, as the Smithsonian Institution is in the field of museums, as Golden Gate Park is in the field of urban multi-purpose parks, as Balboa Park in San Diego is in the field of zoological gardens, and as Colonial Williamsburg is in the field of historical restorations.

Each of these developments has received national and international recognition for its excellence Stone Mountain Park should aspire to this same type of recognition.

Second, the Park should be a memorial not only to those who fought during the four Years of warfare, but also to the culture to which these men belonged . The Civil War was a crisis in the life of the South; it was not the climax of Southern civilization. The ideals, beliefs, and ways of life of the states which made up the Confederacy existed for many years prior to 1861, and they did not cease to exist in 1865. For the most part they have continued on as a permanent part of our national character.

The people of the South made many contributions to the evolution of American life and character. Stone Mountain Park should commemorate them, as well as the men who fought during the brief period of the Confederacy.

Third, the entire Park, rather than just the memorial area itself, should be viewed as a commemoration. This does not mean, as is noted later, that activities such as swimming and golf cannot take place, but that every activity, every special event, every future development should be examined most carefully to determine if it is in harmony with the basic objectives of the Park.

Other answers follow rather easily from the ones stated above.

The basic objective of the Park should be an educational one, in the broadest sense of the term. The image which is projected should be primarily one of public service rather than private gain.

Because the story to be told is a large one, it will not be possible to tell it in a single day. The Park should therefore be designed to accommodate visits of several days in length.

And, because the story to be told is a grand one, it should be told to all who wish to come. The Park should serve the national and international market, as well as the local area.

Building upon these answers, which in reality constitute basic assumptions about the Park, it now is possible to formulate the development concept.


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