Category Archives: Elberton GA

A Last Look at the Georgia Guidestones

After hearing the news of the destruction of the Georgia Guidestones in the early morning hours of 6 July 2022, I decided to revisit my photographs of the place. I’ve talked to people from Elberton and most just thought of them as a curiosity, but they were a tourist attraction; how much impact they actually had on the community in this regard has always been up for debate.

They also fed conspiracy theories, most recently highlighted by gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor (3.4% of the vote in the 2022 Republican primary) who declared them “satanic” and made their removal a tenet of her candidacy.

Elberton mayor Daniel Graves recently told Stephen Fowler, in an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition: “[the] county is a solidly conservative and religiously observant, so outside voices claiming Satan’s hold on the stones don’t add up. “Our view of righteousness is not an Almighty God that needs zealots to do his dirty work and destruction,” Graves said. “That’s hatred … all the dynamite in the world can’t change a man’s heart.”

The only controversy regarding this relatively plain monument when it was unveiled on 22 March 1980 had to do with its origins and the identity of its mysterious patron. The man chose his pseudonym, R. C. Christian, because of his faith, but nothing else was ever revealed. Perhaps that’s what helped feed growing theories regarding the “New World Order” and satanism over time.

Occupying the highest point in Elbert County, the Guidestones were sometimes referred to as America’s Stonehenge, even though Stonehenge was laid out in a circular fashion and the Guidestones formed an “x”. There only similarity to Stonehenge was in their use as a sort of celestial sundial.

Elberton is known as the Granite Capital of the World, and is a charming small town. Personally, I prefer the area’s architectural gems, but I think it will be a challenge to draw people to the area on that aspect alone.

As Elberton Star editor Rose Scoggins told NPR: “I do think that we will slowly start to see just how big of an impact they had, because it will affect our tourism…I think we will unfortunately see that decline.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) hasn’t released any updates recently, but they do have video footage of the vehicle that was at the site just before the explosive device was detonated. Elbert County intends to prosecute anyone responsible.

Two slabs were destroyed in the initial explosion and the GBI took out the remaining stones as a safety measure. For now, to my knowledge, there aren’t plans to replace the Guidestones.

Queen Anne House, Elberton

W. C. Smith House, Circa 1890, Elberton

Anna King O’Neal writes: W. C. Smith was a prominent merchant, arriving in Elberton in 1880. He was also a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He died in 1909. 

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

William J. Clark House, Circa 1856, Elberton

William J. Clark was a merchant and one of the leading citizens of Elbert County when he built this home, which may have originated as a Plantation Plain with Greek Revival elements added later. Clark was killed in the Civil War. Thanks to Anna King O’Neal for the identification.

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Commercial Block, Elberton

This large commercial block has been home to numerous businesses over the years, including a stone supply company and appliance service. If not too far gone, it would be a great restoration project.

Elberton Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot, 1910, Elberton

One of Georgia’s finest old depots, this is now home to the Elbert County Historical Society.

National Register of Historic Places

Swift-Oliver House, 1850s, Elberton

While photographing Elberton, I ran across this wonderful house and briefly spoke to the owner, who graciously allowed me and a friend to photograph it. She informed us that it’s the oldest house in Elberton. I just want to thank everyone in the Granite City for being so friendly and welcoming, and I’d like to give a special thanks to Anna King for helping with identifications of many of the local landmarks I photographed. It’s a great city and I’ll definitely be back to photograph what I missed on the last trip. Please take the time to drive around the next time you’re just passing through. You won’t be disappointed.

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

L. M. Heard House, 1909, Elberton

Historic Elberton GA Heard House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Built by architect William Wallis for Luther Martin Heard and featuring a Ludowici tile roof, this is one of Elberton’s grandest homes. It’s still owned by a descendant of Mr. Heard.

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Victorian House, Elberton

Historic District House Elberton GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Van Duzer House, 1870s, Elberton

Historic District Elberton GA Tustin Van Duzer House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

The Van Duzer family came to Elberton from New York around 1840 and later built a home on what was originally a 20-acre lot. Tax records indicate a structure here as early as 1840; the present structure may be an expansion of that. The Tustin family have also been residents here.

Elberton Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places