HAPEVILLE, Ga. — What’s six-feet long, made of granite and guaranteed to put your mind at ease. The Hapeville Worry Rock, that’s what.
Obtained from a local quarry, this six-foot by three-foot slab of solid granite was placed in what is currently the Hapeville Depot Plaza, in December of 1937 and officially dedicated in January of 1938.
Originally concocted as a promotional tool for the city by the editor of the local newspaper, Courtland Gilbert. The Worry Rock was thought as a great way to help bring attention to Hapeville which also happened to be a stop along the original Old Dixie Highway.
The Worry Rock rose to national prominence after its use as a ‘penalty seat’ for a local drunk by the name of Lamar Couch was sentenced to sit on the rock for a two-hour penance after being detained for public drunkenness.
The town clerk, C. McNeil Leach recognized the opportunity to capitalize upon the newly dedicated Worry Rock.
Lamar had been given the choice by Leach to pay a $10 fine for his bad behavior, or spend two hours publicly sitting upon the Worry Rock. Couch chose the rock and a legend was born.
Photos of Couch appeared all over the country, even landing in a photo spread in the February 1938 issue of LIFE Magazine.
“As a place for locals to sit and worry. Residents will sit on the rock with their worries and their worries will go into the rock, ” explains Hapeville Depot Museum visitor center associate, Dewey Chaffee McGeoch.
However, over the decades the Worry Rock had fallen out of the public eye, in spite of being protected by city officials and other townsfolk who ensure that it stayed put on the grounds of the Hapeville Depot Plaza where it resides to this very day.
With the 40th anniversary of the Hapeville Depot Museum soon approaching, McGeoch tells My East Point News that he is ‘committed’ to making sure that Hapeville’s very own version of the ‘Blarney Stone’ get the historical recognition it deserves.
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