Lookout Mountain is a towering natural wonder that straddles Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. In the early 20th century, a gentlemen named Garnet Carter decided that Lookout Mountain’s winding natural paths, mysterious caverns, and cascading waterfall could be improved upon. Garnet’s wife Frieda was obsessed with folklore and fairytales. Garnet and Frieda decided to transform Lookout Mountain into a fantastical theme park and miniature golf course populated by statues of gnomes, enchanted princesses, and dwarves.
Garnet and Frieda Carter christened their surreal mountain theme park Rock City. Rock City opened to the public in the mid-1930s, in the wake of a spirited marketing campaign which included writing the words “See Rock City” on slanted roofs across the nation. Rock City’s attractions included one of the nation’s first miniature golf courses, caverns illuminated by trippy neon lights, and authentic European garden gnomes galore.
In addition to showcasing several fairytale dioramas, Lookout Mountain also features a panoramic view that an artful stone sign claims spans seven states. Despite the sign’s lofty claims, North and South Carolina may be a little fuzzy. Visitors will certainly get a solid view of portions of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. Rock formations with fanciful names such as Goblin’s Underpass and Mushroom Rock add a bit of mystery to Lookout Mountain’s breathtaking beauty.
Rock City‘s stationary cast of enchanted beings who dwell in neon lit stone caverns will leave you wondering if you actually did see a fairy fly by out of the corner of your eye. As Frieda Carter would happily tell you, countless fairytales do take place atop breathtaking mountains. If you spend a few hours exploring the narrow nooks and crannies of Lookout Mountain, you never know what you might find. Rock City is a monument to the enduring sweetness and strangeness of the human imagination.