ATLANTA — It was probably one of Georgia’s strangest attractions — the Georgia Guidestones.
The stone structure sat on a 5-acre plot along Highway 77, about eight miles north of Elberton. According to the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce, the plot of land is the highest point in the county.
The monument remained a mystery until its demolition Wednesday. No one knows who commissioned it or why.
The origin story of the stones goes back to 1979, when Joe Fendley, the president of the Elbert Granite Finishing Company Inc., was approached “by a neatly dressed man” about building the monument.
The man identified himself as Robert C. Christian.
“During his visit with Fendley, explained that he represented a ‘small group of loyal Americans who believe in God.’ He said they lived outside of Georgia and wanted to ‘leave a message for future generations,’” the Chamber said.
After leaving the meeting with Fendley, Christian went to the Granite City Bank to get a loan for the project. There, he met with Wyatt C. Martin.
“Christian informed Martin about his plans and the group he was associated with, had planned this monument for 20 years. He said the group wished to remain anonymous and revealed to Martin that his real name was not Robert Christian, it was a pseudonym chosen because of his Christian beliefs. After being sworn to secrecy, Christian told Martin his real name, and some other personal information so Martin could investigate him properly before the project began,” the Chamber said on its website.
To this day, Martin is said to be the only person who knows the real identity of Christian.
The prototype of the monument that Christian brought to the Elbert Granite Finishing Company, closely resembled Stonehenge in England.
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“Pyramid Blue Granite from Pyramid Quarry was chosen for the monument. Each piece weighed approximately 28 tons, making this project to become one of the most challenging projects to be worked on in Elberton. Charlie Clamp was the sandblaster chosen to etch the ‘message,’ which was more than 4,000 individual letters,” the Chamber said.
“Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future—the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass,” Wired.com said in a 2009 article about the Guidestones.
On either side of the four stones making up the monument, was the same inscription written in eight of the world’s major languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, and Swahili.
“A mission statement of sorts (let these be Guidestones to an age of reason) was also to be engraved on the sides of the capstone in Egyptian hieroglyphics, classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Babylonian cuneiform. The United Nations provided some of the translations (including those for the dead languages), which were stenciled onto the stones and etched with a sandblaster,” Wired said.
The transcription said:
“Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature; Guide reproduction wisely, improving fitness and diversity; Unite humanity with a living new language; Rule passion, faith, tradition, and all things with tempered reason; Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts; Let all nations rule internally, resolving external disputes in a world court; Avoid petty laws and useless officials; Balance personal rights with social duties; Prize truth, beauty, love ... seeking harmony with the infinite; Be not a cancer on earth — leave room for nature — leave room for nature.”
The messages inscribed on the stones seemed to advocate for population control, harmony with nature and internationalism, which made them the object of conspiracy theories.
The Guidestones were destroyed Wednesday after someone set off an explosive device on them. One of the sets of stones were damaged in the explosion, but crews demolished the whole structure over safety reasons.
You can read more about the Georgia Guidestones here.
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