Off The Beaten Path

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Georgia, United States
Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.

Saturday, September 8

Building Blocks of a County's History

The Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest mountains on earth, so it is no surprise that given the time and geological processes, many diverse minerals and gems can be found beneath the crust and mantle of this grandfather range of peaks and mountains. Mother Nature's most sensational piece of work in this rich landscape was the forming of the largest block of crystalline marble in the whole world. This "Mother Lode" of exceptionally pure marble, with veins that vary in color from white, to gray, to a luscious pink, is estimated to be five to seven miles long, one-half mile wide, and one-half mile deep. Cotton may have been king, moonshine may have had its day, but it is marble that has forged the compelling history of this area of North Georgia from the time of the early Cherokee to the present day. This area was originally called The Long Swamp Branch by the Cherokee, today it is called Pickens County. It is a long sad story, (with the Cherokee Indians being the losers) of how this era of marble mining began, over a half century after the Cherokee Indians were "relocated' to Oklahoma.

Henry T. Fitzsimmons, an Irish stone mason, while travelling through north georgia, discovered outcroppings of surface marble in the Long Swamp Valley. He received a land lot in the 1832 land lottery, and because of his experience in the marble industry he understood the value of the marble. He quickly began purchasing land lots in the area of his discovery, and by 1835 he had purchased what is now called "marble hill", and began a marble quarry and finishing plant called "Long Swamp Marble."

The Fitzsimmons Cemetery in Marble Hill has recently been restored by the Marble Valley Historical society, Inc. of Jasper, Georgia. In October, the city of Jasper is holding it 27th annual Marble Festival.


Akelamalu said...

That was really interesting Nea, thankyou.

Nea said...

You know my love of rocks, imagine how I feel about a moutain of marble...haha

The Old Fart said...

I enjoyed reading this Nea, I am always facinated with the history of other places.

thankyou for Sharing

Nea said...

Thank you Bill, this country is rich in interesting history, and as I learn it, I will share. i have been rather slow to seek it out, but with my neighbor pushing, maybe I will finally see some of this beautiful coutryside.

Queenie said...

Really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing.

maria said...

LOve this little piece of history!

Bring us some more.


Nea said...

HI Queenie, thank you. Been a long time since I have seen you blogging, hope all is going well for you. How did the tests turn out?

Hi Maria, glad you enjoyed it, I will post some new history items this fall. When I am done in the garden for the year and have more time to blog. Right now I am visiting my son in Texas and will be here for a few more days. So my computer time is limited. by the way, welcome to my blog, good to see you here, I will get over your way once I return home and have my own computer.