54 Columns is a collection of 54 columns ranging from 10 to 20 feet tall. It was created in 1999 by Sol LeWitt, a minimalist artist. Known to some as Ghetto Stonehenge, the columns are supposed to resemble the Atlanta skyline. The art project was commissioned by the Fulton County Arts Council. In 2007, the Atlanta City Council designated the 210-acre Freedom Park, which is home to 54 Columns, as an Atlanta Public Art Project. LeWitt’s works can be seen in a number of museums nationwide, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The Connecticut-born LeWitt died in 2007 at the age of 78.
From the late 1960s until he died in the 1980s, John Milkovisch covered his house on Malone Street with crushed been cans. The house — today affectionately know as the Beer Can House — opened in 2008 as a folk art museum. For a small fee, visitors can tour the house and learn more about more about Milkovisch’s passion. From the late 1960s until he died in the 1980s, John Milkovisch covered his house on Malone Street with crushed been cans. The house — today affectionately know as the Beer Can House — opened in 2008 as a folk art museum. For a small fee, visitors can tour the house and learn more about more about Milkovisch’s passion. “They say every man should leave something to be remembered by. At least I accomplished that goal,” one Milkovisch quote painted on an interior wall reads.
The Big Chicken, located along Cobb Parkway in southern Marietta, is a true Atlanta landmark. Motorists reference the 56-foot-tall big chicken when giving directions. Radio stations mention it when describing traffic. Airplane pilots even use it as a landmark for navigation. Today, the Big Chicken is a bit of an anomaly, something unique at a fast food restaurant. Cobb Parkway is a string of urban sprawl, one fast food joint after another. Originally built as more or less a marketing gimmick, the chicken has been embraced by locals and has remained a landmark for more than 45 years. After it was damaged by a storm in 1993, KFC debated whether to rebuild the Big Chicken. The community seemed to be in agreement: The Big Chicken was a local landmark, and it needed to remain; KFC shelled out $700,000 to rehabilitate the restaurant and return the giant bird to working order. Today’s incarnation of this local icon features a moving beak and rotating eyes.
By the 1920s, apples were becoming an important crop in parts of the state, including Cornelia. Because of the crop diversification, Habersham County skirted the devastating effects of the boll weevil’s destruction of 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. The apple was dedicated on June 4, 1926, and a number of dignitaries, including U.S. Sen. Walter F. George attended the event. By the mid 1930s, the apple crop nearly spelled doom from the city, but the statue remained as a reminder of the city’s past.
Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale of Catoosa, a waterfront structure, in the early 1970s as an anniversary gift to his wife, Zelta, a collector of whale figurines. Since then, the whale has become one of the most recognizable attractions along Route 66. The pond surrounding the whale was initially fed by a spring and intended only for family use. However, it was later a popular swimming spot for locals and passersby, though today, swimming is prohibited. The Davis family closed the landmark to the public in 1988, but it has since been restored and re-opened.
Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios is a souvenir shop celebrating Route 66. Visitors often visit the shop, housed in a renovated 1950s PEMCO gas station, for a chance to see Buck Atom, a 21-foot-tall space cowboy-themed “muffler man.” Buck Atom debuted in Tulsa in 2019.
Along Interstate 75 sits a definite oddity: a Titan missile. The missile, acquired from the Air Force in 1968 after it was declared obsolete, 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 In-tercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The missile in Cordele stands on what has been dubbed Confederate Air Force Pad No. I.
In the 1930s, work began on Rapid City’s quirky and beloved Dinosaur Park. The idea originated after dinosaur bones and footprints were found in the area. The goal was to convince travelers to Mount Rushmore to visit Rapid City, hoping to change the area from a pass-through town to a must-stop destination. Sculptor Emmet Sullivan and his team used metal pipe frames, wire and concrete to build dinosaurs. Many workers who helped carve Mount Rushmore were hired for the project. Officials initially selected five dinosaurs, but the group expanded to seven when two smaller dinosaurs were added near the gift shop. In the 1950s, the dinosaurs, originally painted gray, were given their green and white color scheme.
The Double-Barreled Cannon was the brainchild of Dr. John Gilleland, a dentist from Jackson County, Ga., and a member of Mitchell’s Thunderbolts. Built in 1862 at the Athens Foundry and Machine Works, the Double-Barreled Cannon is today little more than a bookmark in history and a rather unique relic. The cannon was designed to fire two cannonballs connected by a chain so as to “mow down the enemy somewhat as a scythe cuts wheat.” According one account, the cannon was tested on a site along Newton Bridge Road, but since the two barrels did not have the same range, the chain broke in mid-air. According to some sources, one of the cannon balls killed a cow in a field nearby. According to a number of sources, including books and newspaper accounts, the cannon was not used in battle. But, according to a Confederate Veteran article, the cannon was used during a skirmish, but not as originally designed.