Historic Square Stone Mountain: A Trip Back in Georgia History

The Davis House, circa 1840 was once the manor house of a 1,000 acre plantation

Guest post by Jamie Rhein

The Historic Square at Stone Mountain Park in DeKalb County, Georgia, is a tidy mix of Georgia’s history between 1793 and 1875. The collection of authentic buildings were moved to the park and restored to offer a glimpse into the past.

As a person who is up for a house museum visit anytime, I found Stone Mountain Park’s collection impressive. The depth of information makes Historic Square worth a stop and the admission price.

Plus, my timing was perfect. The annual Stone Mountain Native American Festival & Pow-Wow was underway when my friend and I headed though the square’s gates. This particular pow-wow is the largest in Georgia. Music, dancing, art, and crafts from tribes across the U.S. transform the square into a vibrant happening over four days every November.

Unfortunately, we only had a few hours to spend.

In between our in and out looks in each of the historic buildings, we browsed the booths and saw a few dances. The outfits the dancers and musicians at pow wows is spectacular. The scene here is family-friendly and festive with people invited to join in some of the dances and demonstrations.

This felt like a two-for-one attraction. Usually one visits historic houses or goes to a pow-wow. How terrific we could do both at the same time.

The historic houses, unlike many I’ve been to where a live person tour guide moves visitors from one room to the next, are self-guided.

We started ours at the rough wooden one-room school house. Here we came across two girls who are cousins sweeping up a bit.

They were just passing time playing school while the parents of one of them were working at their traveling display The Reptile Wagon, one of the pow-wow’s exhibits.

The Reptile Wagon is an amazing exhibit of live snakes and other reptiles rescued by Jason Clark who is a Wildlife Education & Nuisance Wildlife Removal Certified Master Naturalist.

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Reptile Wagon of the Southwestern Reptile Rescue

I talked with his wife, Samantha Clark at the exhibit. What a super cool way to make a living while helping to educate people about these fascinating creatures.

At the Davis House, I chatted with a woman who was with her young son. She had been in the Peace Corps, now lives in the Cameroons but was back visiting family who lives close-by.

Because the tours are a self paced venture,  visitors can take as long as they like. Signage at each building tells about the significance of the structure like at the Davis House which was once a manor house at a plantation.

Each room looks as if folks still live here and have just stepped out for a moment. The collection of antiques is quite impressive. Wood gleams, china shines, silverware is polished, and not one item is out of place. This is a well-cared for attraction that shows attention to detail.

The Davis House dining room

Inside signage provides details about the rooms, furnishings and items of interest. A rope across doorways keeps people from walking into the rooms, but there’s still an up close feel. In the farm yard, we got up close to the goats and sheep of the petting zoo.

Slave cabins

As with any aspect of Georgia history, slavery is part of the scene. The Historic Square includes two clapboard style slave cabins that were also furnished similarly to the 1825-1840 time period.

Flower garden

Other property features include a cookhouse, barn, a formal garden, flower and vegetable garden, smokehouse, coach house and a doctor’s cabin.

Sheep in farm yard

At the J.J. Maddox General store where one pays for admission, there is a gift shop and displays about general Georgia history which provides an overview that helps place the historic buildings in context.

The Historic Square is open year around. Besides the pow wow there are other seasonal events. Pair your visit to the Historic Square with enjoyment of the rest of the park since Stone Mountain Park has a daily admission fee of $20 per car. There is a fee for the Historic Square admission as well all though with the all activities ticket (separate from park admission), the Historic Square is included.

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The daily park admission gives access to hiking, the lake, two hotels: the Evergreen Marriott and the Stone Mountain Inn with several dining options.

The sky lift is one way to get up Stone Mountain

Look for a future post on other park activities. In the meantime, check out Stone Mountain Park’s website. The Christmas season is here so pricing and activities have changed for the season.

My admission to Stone Mountain Park and the Historic Square was complimentary through the DeKalb County Visitors Bureau who hosted the fall conference of the Midwest Travel Journalists. The Historic Town Square was not on the itinerary. I came here on my own and was glad that I did.