Locally, another conspiracy theory had also begun brewing. Some in the town and county believed that the construction of the stones was a hoax designed by Martin and Elberton Granite Finishing to draw attention to the business and the town. So intent was that thinking that Martin and Granite Finishing’s then president, Joe Fendley (now deceased), took — and passed — a lie-detector test.
“Over the years, the paper has tried to solve the mystery,” Jones says, “but Mr. Martin is just not going to tell anybody. It lends to the mystery, and really, I think he’s doing the community a service.”
The conventional wisdom is that Robert C. Christian, or R.C. Christian, is a play on the name Christian Rosenkreuz, founder of the Rosicrucians (Order of the Rosy Cross), which surfaced during the Middle Ages and published anonymous manifestos in the seventeenth century espousing harmony with nature, its own age of reason, and an overall focus on man rather than on religion. Similar theories wonder whether the capstone’s call for an age of reason echoes the works of Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and The Age of Reason during Revolutionary America, or is perhaps a mix of both.
The Rosicrucians remained anonymous and were thought of as alchemists and mystics instilled with higher knowledge — a brotherhood that predated the Illuminati and Masons on the conspiracy food chain.
The Rosicrucians live on today as 501(c) (3) nonprofit thinkers through groups such as the Rosicrucian Order, which claims to offer “the key to universal wisdom.” What’s not offered is any direct credit or association with the Georgia Guidestones.
In Elberton, Jones sums up the community’s 30-year relationship with the Guidestones this way: “The controversies and theories keep folks occupied, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve concluded it’s too small to be a worldwide conspiracy but too big to be a cockamamie scheme by the locals. I think it’s somewhere in between. It’s meant to be a message for future generations, and like Stonehenge and the Pyramids, it’ll be around for a long time.”
Stop the car and gaze.
While the Georgia Guidestones stand as a unique monument with a message, America is dotted with attention-grabbing roadside commerce and kitsch reflecting everything from entrepreneurial pluck to individual expression.
From giant Uniroyal Gals and Muffler Men to tiny churches, Stonehenge replicas, and half-buried cars, such Americana is bound together from old Route 66 to the farmlands of the Midwest to the Eastern seaboard — preserved and embraced for decades.
Here are a few of our favorites:
• A 58-foot termite in Providence, Rhode Island, atop New England Pest Control.
• The full-size replica of the 3,000 BC Stonehenge in Maryhill, Washington. (Other replicas stand in Kerrville, Texas; Rolla, Missouri; and Fortine, Montana.)
• Stonefridge, aka Fridgehenge, outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, built out of 200 refrigerators.
• Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas, a row of 10 old Caddys buried nose-down halfway into the ground.
• A plethora of self-proclaimed World’s Smallest Churches dotted throughout the United States, some measuring no more than eight feet square.
• The 42-foot Jesus in Monroe, Ohio, outdone by the 67-foot version in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. (They stand in direct contrast to the churches mentioned above.)
• The World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas, that measures some 40 feet around and was immortalized by Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation.
For a well-chronicled trip through America’s roadside reflections visit: