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  • Nestled Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Elberton, Georgia

    According to Tom Robinson, executive vice president of the Elberton Granite Association, the abundance of granite in Elberton may also have something to do with Elberton’s nickname, "Granite Capital of the World." Geologists estimate that the granite deposit is 35 miles long, 6 miles wide, and 2 to 3 miles in depth. Bill Kelly, a historian for the granite history, recounts that area farmers thought of the granite rocks in their fields as big nuisances. Chip Rousey of Monumental Designs demonstrates how computers create stencils for carving designs and names into memorial stones.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Explain the process for quarrying, sizing, polishing, and cutting the granite.

    2. Which businesses in your town have their origins in a natural resource? What spin-off businesses have these businesses produced?

    Expansion

    1. Suggest slogans, dates, names or other information that would be suitable to include on a monument recognizing the city of Elberton. Assume the monument would be placed in the town square. Design or suggest an appropriate shape for the monument.

    Vocabulary

    quarry: an excavation from which stone is cut or blasted for use in building, road construction, monuments, etc.
    jet piercing: a machine that produces a flame using fuel oil to cause a continuous flaking action into granite; as the nozzle is moved up and down, a channel is created around large sections of the quarry
    stencil: a piece of paper, metal, etc., that has a design, letter, etc., cut out of it
    monolith: a stone that was put in position by people as a monument or for religious reasons
    multiplier effect: an increase in spending produces an increase in national income and consumption greater than the initial amount spent

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Explain the process for quarrying, sizing, polishing, and cutting the granite.
    -jet piercing cuts the rock out of the granite quarry
    -holes are drilled and dynamite inserted; the dynamite frees the
    -granite
    -diamond saws cut a granite block into manageable pieces
    -another machine makes them even smaller
    -then it is polished smooth by another machine
    -the stone cutter shapes the granite with a hammer and chisel
    -designs are made on the computer for the monument
    -this design is sent to a cutting machine that makes a stencil
    -the stencil is attached to the granite and sent to a sandblast artist
    -the artist sprays a special grit at high pressure to create the design onto the stone

    2. Which businesses in your town have their origins in a natural resource? What spin-off businesses have these businesses produced?
    Student answers may vary. Below are some examples.
    Dahlonega gold mines (shops selling gold nuggets in town; mine tours keep the mines open)
    Jasper and Tate: marble (countertops, furniture tops, garden decorations and rocks, etc.)
    Farming towns: Apples, Peaches, Blueberries/Strawberries, Sorghum, Peanuts, Cotton (festivals, trucking companies to take crop to market, pick-your-own farms)
    Golden Isles of Georgia (tourism, ferry boats, conservation organizations, shrimp and seafood industry).
    All of these contribute to the tourism in the area and in Georgia.

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