Years ago I remember driving up to the old Toccoa Rock Quarry to get help from some of the guys working there. I wanted to pull a huge stone out of the gorge at Toccoa Falls and prepare it to be placed on the Stephens County Court House square as a memorial of the 10th anniversary of the 1977 dam break at the college.
The problem I was facing was that the size of the rock I had chosen could not easily be moved. It weighed tons, and I was hoping that someone at the quarry had equipment strong enough to move it. I met members of the Scott family, who promised to come and help. They remembered the flood and told me their dads and grandfathers had known the college’s founder Dr. R. A. Forrest.
They showed up later in the evening but none of their equipment was powerful enough to move the stone. I appreciated their efforts and thanked them. We eventually got the rock out of the Toccoa Falls gorge and today its stands on the Stephens County Courthouse square as a memorial to those who went through the flood and as a thank you to the people of Toccoa, who helped in the aftermath of the flood.
When I visited the quarry back in 1987, it was a bustling business with lots of machinery and men rushing around in trucks. Today, it’s abandoned, grown up, and a little scary. Still, I was determined to walk into the middle of the old quarry with the camera if only for a few minutes. Because we were probably not supposed to be there and because we were not in our usual larger group, I felt a little uneasy. The area was isolated and unlike anything I had seen. Yet, it was strikingly beautiful.
Cliffs towered over us—some were yellow and seemed like they were softer stone while others were roughed and more granite in color.
As I left, I was struck with the thought of returning one day to do more photography. But first, I want to find out more about the history and what it meant to the city of Toccoa. How was the stone used and did any of it stay locally or was it taken off to far away places? Were houses built from it’s rocks and how long has it been abandoned? It must have been this way for years because tall trees towered over us.