If you’re a fan of the oddball things in life, Georgia has plenty to offer. Walton Gas invites you to play our trivia game and then read on for the answer key and more facts covering topics about our state, ranging from weird to wonderful. We hope this will provide a few minutes of entertainment — and maybe enlightenment —on a cold winter day. You’ll find links to the museums and attractions you can visit, so be sure to note your favorites to plan for a road trip when the weather warms.
Myth or fact: Georgia is home to…
- A tick museum.
- Filming locations for “Gone With the Wind.”
- The city with the most cherry blossom trees in the world.
- America’s first gold rush.
- A tree that owns itself.
Landmarks & Legends
- What Atlanta dining landmark has served more Coca-Cola than any other single-standing restaurant on the planet?
- What Georgia dentist fought in the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral?
- Whose Atlanta gravesite is always covered in golf balls?
- An island on the Georgia coast is named for what infamous pirate?
- What landmark, often referenced in driving directions, sits at the corner of Highway 120 and U.S. 41 in Marietta?
Where will you find…
- A miniature Notre Dame cathedral and 50+ other structures created from pebbles, shells, tiles, broken glass and china?
- A collection of more than 3,500 metal lunchboxes?
- Tree spirits?
- America’s most haunted city?
- What mythical creature is the focus of a museum in northern Georgia?
- What unusual monument in Cordele honors the U.S. Air Force?
- This oddity (pictured right) is prominently displayed alongside moon rocks in what state building?
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
- There’s a tick museum in Statesboro. The U.S. National Tick Collection, set on the campus of Georgia Southern University, is believed to be the world’s largest collection of ticks (yes, those pesky insects that latch onto your skin). Over 1 million specimens came to Georgia on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and never left. Multiple species are represented and even painted gold for better viewing under the microscope. They are studied for information about the transmission of diseases.
- The iconic Georgia-based movie “Gone With the Wind” was filmed in California. The iconic film was shot primarily in Hollywood with a few locations elsewhere in California, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Actors in the movie had never visited the state until the movie premiered amid much fanfare in downtown Atlanta in 1939.
- Macon is the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World. Washington, D.C., may be more famous for its Yoshino cherry trees, but Macon is far and away the winner when it comes to having the most trees. The Georgia city has 350,000 of them, as compared to Washington’s paltry 3,000 or so. The city hosts a festival (https://cherryblossom.com) (March 15-24, 2024) to herald the blooming of the trees.
- There’s gold in those Appalachian hills. The largest gold deposits found east of the Mississippi River were first discovered in the Dahlonega area in 1828, 20 years before California’s more famous gold rush. By late 1829, north Georgia was flooded by thousands of prospectors, marking the true beginning of the country’s first gold rush. Dahlonega thrived and a U.S. Branch Mint opened in 1838, coining more than $6 million in gold before closing in 1861. At the Dahlonega Gold Museum, a state historic site, visitors can learn the true story behind “There’s gold in them thar hills!,” see a complete set of rare gold coins, a nugget weighing more than 5 ounces and mining artifacts.
- In Athens, there’s a tree that owns itself. A small stone sign at the base of this unique white oak tree declares that it legally owns itself. Local lore states the Jackson Oak, as it’s also known, likely dates back to the 17th century, but fell in 1942. In 1890, the owner gave the tree “possession of itself and of all land within eight feet,” saving it from future development. The current Tree That Owns Itself is its “son,” planted from the original tree’s acorns. Find the tree in the Dearing Street Historic District near downtown Athens.
LANDMARKS & LEGENDS
- The Varsity in Atlanta serves more Coca-Cola than any other single restaurant in the world. It’s only fitting because The World’s Largest Drive-In Restaurant is located just a few blocks away from Coke’s world headquarters. A popular urban myth holds that the Varsity’s Cokes taste better than others because an underground pipeline brings the beverage directly from the manufacturing facility to the restaurant.
- John H. “Doc” Holliday lived in Griffin. The legendary character in American Western history is one of Spaulding County’s most interesting citizens. Historical markers in Griffin and throughout the county allow visitors to learn more about the dentist-turned-gunslinger before he moved out West, befriended lawman Wyatt Earp and fought alongside him at the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
- Visitors to the gravesite of legendary golfer Bobby Jones, leave golf balls and other artifacts at his final resting place in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery. Not only did he have a prolific golf career, Jones also helped establish Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.
- Blackbeard Island on the Georgia coast is named after the infamous pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach. The 5,618-acre island, northeast of Sapelo Island in McIntosh County, is named for the pirate who raided merchant ships in the region in the early 1700s. Legends say Teach buried his pirate loot on the island, but no treasure has ever been found.
- The Big Chicken, on the corner of Highway 120 and U.S. 41, has been a Marietta landmark since the 1960s. Originally built to attract customers to the restaurant beneath it, the 56-foot structure was made with moving eyes and beak. When the restaurant later became a Kentucky Fried Chicken location, the poultry icon remained. When the big bird was damaged by a 1993 storm, plans were put into motion to take down the aging landmark. Outcry from locals and pilots who used the landmark as a directional reference, prompted KFC to restore the big bird.
- The Rock Garden in Calhoun is home to 50 miniature structures crafted out of rocks, pebbles, shells, broken pieces of china and other odd materials. Completely volunteer built, the buildings are arranged in a garden behind the Calhoun Seventh Day Adventist Church. Visitors can visit from dawn to dusk for a stroll through the flowers and greenery to see Cinderella’s castle, Notre Dame cathedral, a monastery, houses and more wee buildings.
- The Lunch Box Museum in Columbus claims to be the largest museum of its kind in the world. You’ll find one of every metal lunch box ever manufactured that bears a distinctive character design. Visitors come from around the world to see the nostalgia collection, which encompasses 7,000-plus objects spanning a century of pop-culture milestones.
- The Tree Spirits inhabit St. Simons Island of Coastal Georgia. Visitors may feel they’re being watched from the island’s oak trees — and they are. In 1980, artist Keith Jennings began carving whimsical faces into them. The faces, each of which is different, are inspired by the sailors lost at sea. There are at least 20 dotted around the island, with more being added. Use this map to find them.
- Savannah is “America’s most haunted city,” according to the American Institute of Parapsychology. The rating was earned through hundreds of years’ worth of reports of paranormal activity, as well as a very troubled past. The city has endured bouts of yellow fever, multiple disastrous fires, as well as being a central position in multiple wars. More than 40 ghost tours operate in the city’s historic district.
- Expedition: Bigfoot in Cherry Log is a 4,000-square-foot complex housing the country’s largest permanent display of Sasquatch artifacts, exhibits and sighting maps. See the world’s only Bigfoot research and tech vehicle or check out the reference library.
- A Titan I missile — unarmed, but the real thing — stands tall as a monument to the U.S. Air Force and helps to attract travelers to small Cordele, a town better known for its watermelon crop than weaponry. Just off of I-75 at Exit 101, visitors can get an up-close look at the 98-foot-tall retired ballistic weapon erected here in 1969 by the local Rotary Club. A sign at the missile’s base relates its history and proclaims that “This is the site of Confederate Air Force Pad No. 1.”
- The Georgia Capitol Museum in Atlanta is a hidden gem. Established in 1889, the collection is eclectic, covering all aspects of the state’s history. One curiosity stands above the rest, though: the taxidermied head of a two-headed calf born in Palmetto in 1987. Other highlights of the collection include moon rocks, statues of famous Georgians and records from the Western and Atlantic Railroad. The museum is free.