Hello, Lovelies! Welcome to the blog post documenting all the weird things found in the state that all three of us call home. Below the information on this week’s drink break, you’ll find Rebecca’s show notes, sources, and tons of pictures! Join us as we stand in awe at the amazing… and weird… things found in this peachy state that is Braves country and full of history.
This week’s drink break is brought to you by the Psyched Podcast! Psychotherapists Kelsey Fyffe and Alexa Shank combine their love of pop culture and mental health to create the Psyched Podcast. In addition to analyzing both real and fictional figures from pop culture, they share some of the lesser-known and more bizarre aspects of the field of psychology. Join them for entertaining conversation and inspired cocktail recipes.
Quick Facts about Atlanta
There are over 55 streets named Peachtree. From MentalFloss “Some historians believe that the streets are a reference to the Native American village “Standing Pitch Tree,” a Creek Indian settlement near Atlanta, and not the fruit.”
The largest drive-in restaurant can be found in Atlanta (Guesses?). The Varsity stretches over 2 acres and can fit up to 600 vehicles
Atlanta is the home of the famous Oakland Cemetery, which deserves its own episode some day.
Located north of Atlanta and is now a national park, is Dawson Forest.
While unassuming at first, this area used to be home to a nuclear testing facility during the cold war.
Under the command of the Air Force and known as air force plant #67, it was a testing facility with the purpose of designing a nuclear powered aircraft.
The facility was initially built in the early 1950s and was mostly decommissioned by 1971.
Reportedly, the reactor was unshielded, requiring personal to be in underground bunkers during use and causing half the leaves of Dawson Forest to fall off.
It’s still unknown what exactly this testing facility was used for or what it did.
The building still stands today, but all entry points, like the main entrance that was underground, have been filled in.
That hasn’t stopped urban explorers, who have managed to find ways into the building, but, understandably, they won’t share these entrances.
Because the base was mostly underground, after decommission the base quickly filled with water, causing urban explorers to use rafts if they desired to explore parts of the bunker above the water level.
There’s a few videos on youtube, included one that stated that a deflated raft was found near an area that had an unnerving smell
Starting in 2000, roughly 4,000 come to Tallapoosa, Georgia to watch a taxidermied opossum drop to ring in the new year. (Tallapoosa is west of Atlanta, almost in Alabama)
The story starts when Bud Jones found an opossum on the side of the road that had been killed, presumably, by an oncoming car (my speculation, based solely on the number of opossums I’ve almost hit while living in this state)
Bud took the animal back to his taxidermy shop, which was also a wildlife museum, to preserve the animal, evenentually calling the opossum Spencer, after Ralph Spencer who helped the town of Tallapoosa thrive in the late 1800s.
Starting as a small event for family and friends, Spencer was dropped from one of the oldest buildings in the city in a ball that’s wrapped in Christmas lights as the countdown is begun to ring in the new year. The even became a tradition, not just for the town but for around 4,000 people.
Why a opossum? Before being named Tallapoosa after a nearby river, the town was known as Possum Snout by the miners who came to pan for gold in the area.
The festivities include fireworks, live music, and the annual crowning of the opossum King and Queen (humans, which I feel the need to clarify) before the drop of the opossum.
Shrimp at stone mountain
Stone Mountain is a 825 ft tall piece of quartz monzonite that’s 5 miles in circumference that was formed around the same time as the Blue Ridge Mountains
The rock extends 9 miles under the earth and is also known as being the largest piece of granite in the world even though it’s not technically composed of granite but looks a lot like it.
The tourist attraction is most notoriously known for the carving that 1.57 acres (0.635 ha) on the face of the mountain, which features a few key leaders during the confederacy: President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
The three are depicted riding their favorite horses (Blackjack, Traveller, and Little Sorrel, respectively)
The carving measures 76 x 158 ft and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain.
While there’s been much debate surrounding the sculpture and discussions of removing it due to, not only its ties to the confederacy, but also the Ku Klux Klan, that’s (surprisingly) not why Stone Mountain is included in today’s list.
Shrimp live in the pools at the top of the famous rock.
Known as clam shrimp or fairy shrimp, the shrimp only make their appearance after a rainy spell and water is able to collect in the natural domes in the face of the rock.
Located in Athens, Georgia is a cannon that was attempted to be used by the Confederacy during the Civil War
The cannon features unique double barrels, so imagine a double-barrel shotgun with the stock removed and the barrel set on wagon wheels and you got your weapon.
The concept dates back to a Florentine gune maker, Antonio Petrini, in 1642, but in 1862 John Gilleland, who was a dentist, builder, and mechanic, raised money to the tune of $350 (about $8896.24 today) to build this thing for the confederacy.
The idea was to load the two barrels with cannon balls connected by a chain. Firing this cannon would propel these chain-connected cannon balls at enemy ranks, devastating them.
However, due to the inconsistency of gunpowder, the double-barrel cannon ran into timing issues. One barrel would detonate before the other, causing one cannon ball to shoot out before the chain caused the cannon ball to whip back into your own men.
The project was scrapped, but you can still see a double barrel cannon at the corner of East Hancock and College Avenue in front of Athen’s City Hall.
Also located in Athens, Georgia, off of West Broad Street, is a tree that owns itself.
Originally owned by Col. William H. Jackson, a professor at the University of Georgia, the tree was granted ownership during the early 1800s when Professor Jackson, who loved the great oak, deeded the tree and the land within 8 feet of the tree to the tree.
At the foot of the tree is a marker that reads: “For and in consideration of the great love I bear this tree and the great desire I have for its protection, for all time, I convey entire possession of itself and all land within eight feet of the tree on all sides.”
While an original deed has not been located, the community of Athens has recognized the tree’s ownership of itself, with George Foster Peabody, a philanthropist, funding the enclosure that surrounds the tree today.
While the original tree fell to its fate on October 6, 1942, an acorn from the tree was grown into a sapling by the Junior Ladies Garden Club and replanted on October 9, 1946 and still stands today.
The tree’s property rights have not fallen under question.
In addition to selling Amish furniture, fudge, and various other souvenirs, tourists really stop to watch the goats on the roof.
The goats have green grass, ramps to walk across, and a little red barn to chill in on the roof. Supposedly, you can even use a series of small carts to send treats to the goats.
Listed on their website is a brief history on the legend of the goats, which I will read for you now:
To learn the truth about our climbing goats, we sought the expertise of Uncle Buck, Rabun County’s resident goat whisperer. He spent many hours with our goats, first in group session, and then one-on-one goat therapy to understand why our goats are on the roof. Uncle Buck thought the aberrant behavior might stem from “Santa Claus Reindeer Envy Complex”. But upon closer examination, Uncle Buck pronounced his final diagnosis.
Our Tiger Mountain goats are direct descendants of aliens. Although he is not fluent in all bleats, Uncle Buck discovered our Tiger Mountain goats cling to the shingles because they are watching the skies for one magical sign: a solar eclipse of the apricot moon, when the constellation Aries turns gold. When that happens, the Mother Ship of the Goat Universe will swoop out of the Northern Sky and carry our goats home to Aries.
Until that magical sign appears, we suggest you humor our goats with kind words, Goat Chow, and perhaps a carrot at Christmas. We try not to provoke them.
Who knows what alien goats will do?
FYI: according to the Global Office of Astronomical Technology (G. O. A. T.), the anticipated eclipse won’t happen again until August of 3014. Don’t tell the goats.
Located in Elbert County, Georgia, the Georgia Guidestones is known as America’s Stonehenge and attracts tourists from the town of Elberton, which is actually the granite capital of the world.
The Guidestones stand 19 feet high and, in 12 languages, talks about the conserving of mankind in 10 parts in 8 languages (English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian).
The stones also serve as a calendar. At noon the sun shines through a small hole in the granite, illuminating that day’s date.
At the top are inscribed four ancient languages: Babylonian cuneiform, classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyption hyroglyphics.
Rumours also say there is a time capsule buried under the guidestones.
The mystery of the Georgia Guidestones is it is still unclear who sponsored the build of the guidestones and who provided the specifications. One source I found stated that a man named RC Christian hired Elberton Granite Finishing Company to finish the structure.