Sometimes, you see something and it’s so far removed from what you expected, that all you can mutter is, “Huh?”
That was my reaction, the first time I hiked back through the woods, to see “The Wall” at Fort Mountain State Park, atop Fort Mountain, just east of Chatsworth, Georgia. It’s part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, close to the Cohutta Wilderness area, at the southwestern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The park and mountain gets its name from a mysterious stone wall that’s been sitting on top of the mountain since before the Cherokee moved into the region. It’s built without mortar and made from large non-native rocks. It’s 855 feet long and varies from 2 to 6 feet in height. It runs east to west and lines up with the Winter Solstice. And, the Native Americans who were there before the Cherokee claimed it was built by moon-eyed people.
Feel free to cue up “The Twilight Zone” music.
I’m a lifelong military history buff and I can’t, for the life of me, see any defensive application to the structure. It’s sitting in the middle of the woods. That’s just not how forest fighting is done.
It has what looks like pods, for lack of a better term, kind of like stone foxholes. Or, maybe they were used as a base for beams for a larger structure. One theory is that honeymooners spent the night in the pods.
I don’t know.
The whole thing baffles me and everyone who visits it.
The best archeological guess is that it was built between 500 B.C. and 1500 A.D., with the highest probability that it was built around 500 A.D. One leading theory is that the moon-eyed people were followers of Prince Madoc, a Welsh adventurer who showed up in Mobile Bay around 1400 A.D. and presumably moved north. Some petroglyphs support the legend, but apparently there is nothing conclusive, yet.
And, it just sits there, mocking us, defying everything we think we know about pre-Columbian history. It sits quietly, serenely, not really caring whether we figure it out or not.
That’s why I call it The Poor Man’s Stonehenge. It’s just as mysterious. It raises just as many questions. It’s just as mesmerizing. It just hasn’t had the hype.
It’s one of North Georgia’s best kept secrets, in more ways than one.
[Sources: http://www.gastateparks.org/info/fortmt/; http://ngeorgia.com/ang/Fort_Mountain_State_Park]