CORDELE, Ga. — Georgia is home to world-class attractions, but some of the more unique attractions in the Peach State can be found along the state’s highways.
Here are a few ideas.
The Big Chicken, Marietta
The Big Chicken is a throwback to another time, one when roadside eateries meant something different, and owners did what they could to draw people driving past.
In the early 1960s, S.R. “Tubby” Davis saw potential with the relatively newly repaved Cobb Parkway. In a bid to lure hungry travelers to his Johnny Reb’s Chick, Chuck and Shake restaurant, he erected a 56-foot-tall big chicken. It became a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise after Davis sold the restaurant to his brother.
World’s Largest Peanut, Ashburn
Turner County is nicknamed “The Peanut Capital of the World” for a good reason. The south-central Georgia county is home to a Golden Peanut Co. shelling plant and “The World’s Largest Peanut.”
The 20-foot-tall monument, built atop a crown on a brick base, was made the state’s official peanut monument in 1998. The slogan on the side of the memorial reads: “Georgia 1st in Peanuts.”
The monument, located along Interstate 75, is dedicated to Nora Lawrence Smith, a member of Georgia Journalism’s Hall of Fame, according to a plaque on the side of the monument.
Confederate Missile, Cordele
Along Interstate 75 sits a definite oddity — a Titan missile.
The missile was acquired from the Air Force in 1968 after it was declared obsolete. The rocket was flown from California to Warner Robins Air Base, where it was stored for some time before it was given to the community.
Titan I missiles were used between 1959 and 1965 and is considered the country’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The rocket in Cordele stands on what has been dubbed “Confederate Air Force Pad No. I.”
Big Red Apple, Cornelia
By the 1920s, apples were becoming a crucial crop in parts of the state, and Cornelia was no exception. Thanks to crop diversification, Habersham County skirted the devastating effects of the boll weevil, which is credited with destroying the cotton crop.
In 1925, Southern Railway donated to the city a monument dedicated to the fruit that helped save their community. The seven-foot-tall, 5,200-pound apple statue was molded in Winchester, Va., and sits atop an eight-foot-tall concrete pedestal next to the train depot in the center of town.
The apple was dedicated on June 4, 1926, and dignitaries on hand included U.S. Sen. Walter F. George.
Double-Barreled Cannon, Athens
The Double-Barreled Cannon in front of the Athens-Clarke County City Hall dates to 1863. The Double-Barreled Cannon, built at a local foundry, was designed to fire two cannonballs connected by a chain. The goal was to “mow down the enemy somewhat as a scythe cuts wheat.”
The cannon, built as an experiment, was never used, and the unique relic is today little more than a bookmark in history.