Elbert County won't rebuild bombed Georgia Guidestones, will donate monument's remains

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The Georgia Guidestones was a roadside attraction and tourist draw for Elbert County for many years.
The Georgia Guidestones was a roadside attraction and tourist draw for Elbert County for many years.

The Elbert County Board of Commissioners voted Monday night to give the broken and crumbled remains of the destroyed Georgia Guidestones monument to the Elberton Granite Association.

The large granite blocks and fragments were moved to an undisclosed location after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation completed its forensic investigation of the site following the July 6 bombing by an as yet unidentified person.

"We didn't want the scavengers coming up there and possibly getting hurt so we moved them to a third-party location," Commission Chairman Lee Vaughn said Tuesday.

The commission also decided at its Monday meeting to begin the legal process of giving the 5 acres of land that contained the monument back to the previous owner, according to Vaughn.

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The Guidestones, unveiled in 1980, were destroyed in the predawn hours of July 6, when a bomb shattered one of the massive 19-foot-tall, 28-ton blocks of granite. A surveillance video captured a lone person running to and from the monument, then leaving in a car. The remaining blocks were pushed over for safety reasons.

Over the years, the landmark had become a tourist destination and is the subject in several books that sought to address the messages inscribed in the stones and its mysterious creator.

"The county is not in the monument business, but it's our opinion the county should never have taken ownership when they did in 1979," Vaughn said.

Private effort to rebuild remains a hope

The Granite Association also doesn't want to rebuild the monument, also known widely as America's Stonehenge, "but I hope there is a group that will come together and rebuild and create a foundation to own the Guidestones," Vaughn said.

"The money is there — plenty of offers of donations, both monetarily and work in kind. I think you could get it built at no cost," he said.

ElberGranite Association Executive Vice President Chris Kubas said Tuesday the association will accept the remains of the Guidestones because members didn't want the original stones crushed.

"Our museum foundation basically agreed to accept them as a donation and at some point we may decide to do something. We haven't talked that far yet," he said, adding that a plan would have to be developed for their display.

Like Vaughn, Kubas has received positive comments about rebuilding the monument.

Granite association members who manufacture stones and own quarries have made it known they would donate materials and time to get the project done, he said.

"That's probably a conversation that will have to happen with the city," Kubas said. "The city is probably the one that most likely would be interested in having them built back because it is a huge tourist draw for Elberton. It got a lot of tourism, and all of a sudden that has dried up — it's gone."

Vaughn said he has heard various ideas about a rebuilt monument, including leaving off the text that apparently proved controversial. The man who financed the monument was known only by the pseudonym of Robert C. Christian. A local banker, who has since died, worked with the mystery man more than 40 years ago to have the Guidestones built.

"It was not a Christian monument. It was not an anti-Christian monument. It was what it was and it should not have offended anybody," Vaughn said.

Search for Guidestones bomber continues

The GBI has said previously that there were no witnesses to the bombing, but the video shows the suspect left in a light-colored sedan with a sunroof.

A case of 'domestic terrorism': DA vows to pursue felony charges in Georgia Guidestones bombing

Teams with the GBI's bomb unit and U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the type explosive used.

Anyone with information on the bomber may call the GBI's Athens office at (706) 552-2309.

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Georgia Guidestones bombing: Elbert County decides not to rebuild