What Kind of Wonderful? From Historic to Natural "Wonder"

A Janus File

from Augustus Lukeman's Plans for the Memorial (1925)
from Deborah Yost's Guidebook (1994)

"Think what that means--this monuments will endure forever, or into another geologic age! Perhaps, when all life has perished from the earth and the whirling planet enters a new phase, that evidence of the imagination and handiwork of man of this century will carry into mute ages its great story of the valor of the soldiers of the South."
"Today's visitors can explore this 3200 acre natural getaway with six major attractions and a variety of natural activities, including golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, and boating. . .Georgia's Stone Mountain Park is truly a natural wonder of Geology, History, Education, Sports, and Fun."

Due to self-conscious decisions by those in financial and therefore ideological control of the Park, Stone Mountain has elicited two very different kinds of wonder, historic and natural.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy and later the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Associaition successfully imparted to the first two sculptors of the Park their vision of historic wonder, one that aimed inspire and awe through the presentation of Confederate heroes. Lukeman's statement reflects his determination to make this vision a reality; to him, the most wonderful part of the project at Stone Mountain was its preservation of the awesome Confederate story.

Today, visitors to Stone Mountain Park can expect to find a different kind of wonder, natural wonder, in all different places. In an effort to make the Park more marketable, the State has removed the essential Confederate element from the carving and has made it one of many "wonderful things." Now, visitors enjoy a natural, spontaneous wonder at the Park's many attractions, one rooted in short term in enjoyment of the natural world, rather than long term devotion to a historic cause.




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